15 November 2002
Ed Hall's new Macbeth at the Albery is a bitter, black and bloody triumph: it takes its mood from star Sean Bean, a brooding, dispossessed figure totally in touch with his young audience.
We also get Samantha Bond, Moneypenny herself, as a sexy, sympathetic Lady Macbeth, while Julian Glover exudes classic RSC dignity as the doomed King.
Hall edits the text where required and brings it in under two hours.
The reasons I have long been suggesting that Ed Hall is far and away the best director of his thirtysomething generation are all in evidence here.
He has a superb sense of the sweep of Shakespearean
drama; is able to bring it to a modern audience without ever condescending
betraying the text.
Above all he draws out of a young and often untested company performances of real vigour and vehemence.
Three gorgeous young women replace the usual old crones as the weird sisters in Ed Hall's new Macbeth.
The cast is in World War I military dress, and this is a fiery, frantic, furious and flamboyant account of one of the greatest and most timeless of clasic thrillers.
This is quite simply the best Macbeth since the Ian McKellan/Judi Dench version of nearly 30 years ago.
Ed Hall has made his version of Macbeth over as a kind of gothic nightmare.
In doing so he has brought out the power, passion and sheer breathtaking tension of a play about murder and mayhem, sex and betrayal, love and lust.
At a moment when the Crown in this country
looks more shaky than ever before, this new production of the
Scottish Play reminds us that kingship has always been a dodgy
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