Macbeth (1985): Haymarket Theatre, Leicester
PRINCIPAL CAST: Bernard Hill (Macbeth); Joseph Marcell (Banquo); Nick Stringer (Macduff); Julie Walters (Lady Macbeth).
The first performance of this production was 24 October 1985.
"After last season's Dream, the Leicester Haymarket has come up with another intriguing Shakespearian adventure, a second collaboration between the director Nancy Meckler and the People Show....All Gothicism of blasted heath and midnight hags is out. The witches are a trio of scavenging bag ladies, first seen robbing corpses and later comparing evil trinkets stowed in a dilapidated pram. The timeless eeriness of the best People Shows takes on a new dimension here, with a spiralled staircase, representing the castles of both Duncan and Macbeth, fitted out with red swag and frosted windows....The design...also incorporates two large platform drawbridges suspended in mid-air and used throughout with ingenuity. They serve as battle ramps and as spatially isolating arenas when the Macbeths grow apart....The staging pulls off some striking transitional effects: Joseph Marcell's laughing, incredulous Banquo is butchered in an animal net while the feast is calmly prepared behind him" ~ Michael Coveney, "Macbeth/Leicester Haymarket", Financial Times, 30 October 1985
"Not only the sisters are weird in Macbeth at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester. Everything else is - from the settings and the sound effects, devised by the People Show in collaboration with the director Nancy Meckler, to the voices and most of the acting or what passes for it....The Macbeths live at the top of a spiral staircase which not only makes sleepwalking exceptionally tricky, but also forces them on to suspended landings - hoisted high above the blasted heath in space, as it were, though the heath itself has an abundance of cellars for the fog of war to seep from....We hear the owl hoot and the cricket cry. Duncan's corpse is lowered from the Macbeth penthouse by ropes and the doubling of roles is odd because the excellent Black actor Joseph Marcell, having caused quite an impression as Banquo, comes back as Seyward" ~ Eric Shorter, "Macbeth in no-man's land", Daily Telegraph, 31 October 1985