Macbeth - Reviews - Verity


Last Update: 01 Mar 2003

Wow! What a night! My friend Liz and I were wandering round London before the show wondering if he'd be there or if we'd have to see an understudy. And knowing our luck…

Anyway, the show was really clever and visually pleasing (the show, not just Sean!). I liked the set, and its metallic rustiness.

Now, I knew how the show would start, but still the enormous BANG! made me jump, and I was seated in the balcony about 200 feet up! If I'd have dropped something over the edge, I'd have either killed someone or made a smoking crater in the floor.

The use of fire was cool, and when Sean walked through it I was very conscious of his combat trousers and the hazard they created. He looked ultra good in his first costume - a long brown sleeveless leather jacket, some kind of rock band T-shirt, combat trousers, boots, sword, fishnet-like mesh and silver cross on a chain. Swoon! His hair is rapidly growing and he now has a little Mohawk. Yes - a Mohawk. And it actually suited him, too. But it disappeared after the first act because he kept running his bloodied fingers through it.

The music was absolutely wonderful! I really loved it, and if there had been a CD of it I would have got one. It was sort of a gothic madrigal, and sounded like Latin. Just my kind of stuff!

The swordplay showed off Sean's talent as a swordsman. There were sparks off the metal in one instance, and you could see he was loving every minute of it. As was I - I have a serious thing about swords. He is very cat-like in his movements, and has a certain grace, even when he does 'the sword walk' where you have to move in a certain way because you have a heavy sword on your belt.

There were a few things that made me and my friend smile - Sean's trousers rapidly sliding down his hips at one point because they were about 8 sizes too big for him. He must have hitched them up between scenes. Also, in the scene where he does his soliloquy and throws the paper across the floor, one bit got stuck on his foot and wouldn't come off for the entire scene, no matter how much he walked around. Even when he left the stage, it was still clinging to his boot. And his poor voice! He must be so sore, having to shout a lot of his lines, and by the end he was practically spitting blood. There was a wonderful Boromir moment where he did the beard-stroking thing, and quite a lot of people noticed it and smiled. He also, can't keep still - EVER! You just know he's meant to be standing still, but there's always something moving, something going on.

He has a way with the audience, and seems to look around as he speaks at every person in the room. At one point Liz leaned into my ear and whispered "He's looking right at us!" It could just be because I'm a fan of his, but you can't ignore him when he's on stage. He's just… I don't know… a real presence.

And yes - he does do the evil grin a few times.

Samantha Bond was wonderful! She really was fantastic. They made a very convincing couple on stage and it makes you wonder about them offstage, because they're clearly friends at least. When she went mad, reliving conversations with herself and Macbeth it was very good acting, especially her screams. And she showed the way Lady Macbeth had influence over her husband excellently, leading him most places by the hand and shoving him across the stage at least once.

The scene with Banquo's ghost was actually really funny. At least, I thought so. All you needed was Banquo saying "Coo-ee! Guess who!" Sean was just so great in this bit, running around like a headless chicken, completely terrified, jumping over the table and sobbing madly. And when they make the toast in a circle and Macbeth and Banjo both turn opposite ways, ending up in each others faces, I thought that was wonderful choreography. And Sean managed to jump backwards about 4 feet in terror! You could hear his breathing even from where I was sitting (about 6 miles above the stage!) and he and Banquo were both so convincing. They must have had a scream rehearsing that.

There was a lot of male bonding in the show, lots of slapping backs and sword culture. The machine guns were cool, and not at all naff. Liz and I are Full Metal Jacket fans so we couldn't help but think "Yeah! Get some, baby!" when the firing started. I was so proud of Sean for not dulling down his accent. He really went for it all the way through, and it was so refreshing to hear Shakespeare in a voice that wasn't cut glass stereotype English. Good for him!

There are 'no photos' signs everywhere, but because I'm quite bold when I put my mind to it, I did take one photo when the cast were taking bows. Then everyone started and the theatre was lit up in flashes! I was the first one - I'm so proud! The ushers didn't mind, so I think it's understandably only during the show when you're not allowed. There was a massive roar of applause when Samantha and Sean came on, and they looked so pleased that everyone had fun. Big grins all round in the cast.

After the show, Liz and I legged it to the stage door. We'd already been told he wouldn't come out, but we thought it would be worth a try. About 30 of his fans were there brandishing copies of Lord of the Rings and their Macbeth programmes. We waited for about 40 minutes, begging the bemused security guards to go in and ask him. One of them very sweetly said he was asleep, because he has a little bed in his dressing room for him to curl up on and snooze between shows. Eventually you could tell the more 'hardcore' fans because quite a few people just left, but we stayed hopeful. We met an American lady and a French lady and chatted about him for ages, debating crazy ways to get him outside. Including a) storming the building b) crying really loud so he'd take pity c) chanting d) pretending to be family members e) climbing onto the roof pretending to demand his presence on pain of our own deaths f) offering to buy him drinks in the pub next door. Ahem… no worries. On all counts, we were just joking!

Amusingly, the scottish guy who played Duncan (I think) came out, glaring at us, snarled "He doesn't come out!" and then stormed off muttering curses. The guy who played Banquo was really nice, and signed our programmes for us. He told us that the cast had been out all night boozing and so Sean was crashed out. Everyone said "aaaaah…" and thanked him for a wonderful show.

One of the guards spoke to us, and told us his dressing room was downstairs, under an iron grate and we could see it from where we were standing. He thought it was funny when we pretended to call down "We love you! We'll buy you drinks! You don't know how gorgeous we all are!"

Then the guard told us we could leave our programmes with him, along with little notes and an SAE, and he'd get Sean to sign them later and send them on. The American lady, the French lady, myself and my friend scribbled thank you notes to him for a lovely evening and went off happy. In fact the American lady bravely left a Sharpe DVD! Moments later, the French lady found us again and said she'd seen a car parked outside that looked like a chauffeur. Taking photos of the venue we watched the car, hoping we might catch a glimpse of Sean, but we went after a while we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

We're not really as obsessive as we sound! We were in fact standing quietly outside the stage door and it was a really nice atmosphere (kind of like a party!) meeting other fans. The show was just immense, and I thoroughly recommend it to all fans. Macbeth was one of Sean's best roles in my humble opinion, and he threw in bits from lots of his other roles. Most notably, Boromir and Carver Doone, I thought. We weren't upset that we didn't get to tell Sean how good it was in person, because the show was enough for us anyway. If you get the chance before the 1st of March, do try to get there!

PS - I never got your names, but if the French and American ladies stop by and see this - HELLO! (we were talking about this website!)


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