Macbeth (2014): Filter Theatre, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
CAST INCLUDED: Geoffrey Lumb (Macduff); Poppy Miller (Lady Macbeth); Ferdy Roberts (Macbeth).
A co-production of Filter Theatre and the Tobacco Factory Theatres, this production was an adaptation of Macbeth, using six [one review said seven] actors, and toured nationally. Information taken from Theatre Record and is likely to be incomplete.
"In the opening moments, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had inadvertently wandered into a stripped-down electro-acoustic gig. Centre stage is a cluster of desks bearing an assortment of wired-together synthesizers, microphones and audio equipment. Otherwise, the staging is completely bare, with the actors apparently clad in their civvies. Instead of dimming the lights, a member of the cast inocuously clearing her throat calls us to attention. Filter Theatre has built a decade-long track record of distilling classic plays to their essence, ruthlessly abridging texts and dispensing with such distractions as set, props and costumes. In this deconstruction of the Scottish play...all the beauty and mystery derives from the soundscape, created by Tom Haines, and performed by the ensemble. Haine's compositions blend peculiar bongs and bleeps of the kind pioneered by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop with longer, melodic synth passages, at times generating a quite eerie, unsettling atmosphere. What's disappointing - and unexpected - is how faithful this devised production remains to Shakespeare, with too few imaginative flourishes to replace the lack of conventional theatricality....A handful of bold ideas offer flashes of what might have been, with the Porter's scene replaced by actor Paul Woodson reading the corresponding extract from Brodie's Notes, and an arresting sequence, in which the cast don masks and whirl around a blindfolded Roberts in a disturbing variation on blind man's bluff. Too often, though, you're left feeling as though you've intruded on the rehearsal room rather than a fully realised production." ~ Allan Radcliffe, The Times, 23 January 2015
"Moreover, Poppy Miller's Lady Macbeth seems to adopt the method suburban, playing the role for laughs like an ambitious sitcom wife; Ferdy Roberts as Macbeth seems a shade off-hand, except at the strangely powerful moment when he picks up a copy of Brodie's Notes - to roars of recognition from the audience - and learns how this story must end. Yet Victoria Moseley's Banquo is deadly serious, tightly drawn and moving, as is Geoffrey Lumb's Macduff." ~ Joyce McMillan, Scotsman, 24 January 2015
"All this is excellent, the sounds themselves deftly and eloquently fitted to the narrative and the central performances - particularly Ferdy Roberts' haunted Macbeth, Victoria Moseley's sternley sceptical Banquo and Geoffrey Lumb's solemnly decent Macduff - are strong." ~ Sarah Hemming, Financial Times, 9 February 2015