Macbeth - Reviews - Sarah & Kathryn

Last Update: 26 November 2002

Sean is FANTASTIC. Tonight he was every bit as energetic as at the press opening night but more relaxed, especially in the monologues where he is taking his time - perhaps responding to the one criticism made by the most enthusiastic of the press critics, namely that he rushed the monologues. There was a huge school party of teenagers in the balcony tonight, who were as good as gold - more or less - and squealed like stuck pigs at the opening!

It ran very smoothly and crisply - though I think it's time they oiled the bed wheels. Something happened in the banquet scene: in the chaos of seeing Banquo's ghost, Sean knocked one of the heavy metal wine goblets flying right off the stage - it rolled off and hit the ground in front of row AA with a satisfying, expensive-sounding THUD! It only added to the chaos of the scene.

My husband was with me this time. At the interval he said nervously that Sean was "a real Shakespearian" but it was the second half which won him over. He spotted Banquo's ghost a second before he turned round - we were over to the right of the stalls - and I felt my spouse gasp and start next to me. The second half crackles along and Sean does "tomorrow and tomorrow" better and better every time I hear it. No tears last night, though. I am amazed he managed tears on Saturday - maybe they kept the fact that Sheffield United had beaten their opponents 5-0 that afternoon from him.



That crown at the end! It has a mind of its own. I think it is going for "Best performance by an inanimate object" at the Evening Standard awards. On the press night it fell from Sean's head as he died and Macduff picked it up; I liked that as it meant we had a glimpse of Sean bare-headed for a teeny moment.

Last night as Macduff delivered the coup de grace, the crown tipped forward over Sean's eyes, giving a rather effective tragi-comic look. It reappeared on Polystyrene Sean (the head) and was handed to Malcolm by Macduff as usual...then Malcolm very pointedly gave it a look of pure evil before handing it to Old Siward to look after - symbolising the idea that he has been put on the throne by English force. Don't worry, Edward Hall, I'm watching for all the little points.

My MOST goose-pimply moment - the moment where I slump down into my seat because my legs have turned to jelly and I can feel my insides quiver? Besides the obvious scenes, it's the coronation. It's when the singing and organ music soar and Sean Bean walks purposefully towards me (me personally, of course..well, I can dream, can't I?) in a devastatingly manly uniform, with a long train sweeping from his shoulders, and he gazes around the audience and those green eyes glint, glint, glint...

Samantha Bond is cranking up the "don't touch me" element in her interpretation. More than ever before I realised that MacB has not had any Conjugal Relations since the murder - my spouse pointed this out as he had not seen it stressed so well in a production before. I now have the clear impressionn that since Lady M. saw M. over-doing things by murdering the grooms (and realised that she had unleashed a monster from within him) she has not let him near her. She recoils from Macbeth's attempts to make physical contact at every opportunity and at "be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck" she is cringing with horror at his touch. Now that's acting...


Kathryn R notes:

Lady M is becoming increasingly repulsed by M's behaviour. At the end of the banqueting scene when Lady M says "You lack the season of all natures, sleep" and M replies "Come we'll to sleep" and advances on her, I think she realises that sleep is not exaclty what he means. She's away like a greyhound out of a trap, and it's probably so she can get on the other side of the bedroom door and lock it.



My spouse pointed out that the play is very much about woman's power to keep men in check, to restrain their worst behaviour. Lady M decides to give up that womanly role - "unsex me here" - to push Macbeth into regicide - this production points this up when Sam B rolls over on top of Sean B and says "leave the rest to me". Once she has made that decision, to relinquish her "natural" role as the moral check on her man, she can't put the monster back in its cage.

The reviews from the Daily Telegraph and the Observer have been photographed, blown up to 10 foot high and pasted on huge boards placed outside the theatre where there is a continual small crowd of people standing reading them. smo4

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