Macbeth - Reviews - Daily Mail

Last Update: 15 November 20002

Source: Daily Mail
15 November 2002
Michael Coveney

Sean Bean and Samantha Bond who share both initials and burgeoning success in the movies, make a fearsome, powerful couple as the royal neighbours from hell, the Macbeths.

Boromir in Lord of the Rings and Miss Moneypenny in the Bond films were never meant to end up like this: killing their way to power and dying apart in madness in defeat.

This fast, punchy, almost unexpectedly good Shakespeare in the West End is directed by Edward hall (son of Sir Peter).

The three wicked witches are played by ever-present sirens who mix domestic duties in the castle with a bit of black magic down in the forest.

And these seeming midnight hags, revealed in slinky underslips, form a four-in-a-bed tryst with the hero, who is stripped to the waist and
gagging for bad news and fantasy diversion.

For one thing is clear. This is a play of dreams and nightmares, sleep-talking and sleep-walking, sudden starts and fainting fits, knocking
doors and knocking knees.

Even little Fleance, Banquo's son, is first seen gibbering on his bed.

And the sounds of the night include owls, howls and strange Romanian folk chants.

Mr Bean is all grit and grime, and good Northern vowels, a blade of Sheffield steel that cuts to the quick and murders in a panic of ambition.

You could imagine Miss Bond's Lady M wearing a bit of ruff as well as going after a bit of rough.

That is the relationship, as she eggs him on and buckles under the yolk. They drift apart, disastrously, and Bond's sleep-walking scene is the desperate cry of a mad harpy whose life has collapsed into chaos.

The ghost of Banquo (Barnaby Kay, a fine young actor) at the feast, the blast of the coronation, the murder of Lady Macduff and her children by terrorists in balaclavas; all these scenes are done with a flourish.

Hall has the knack of making Shakespeare lively and meaningful for a young audience, and I hope they find their way to the Albery.

As they might be chanting on Mr Bean's beloved soccer terraces at Bramall Lane: where are you, RSC?

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