MACBETH – Adelaide University Theatre Guild

MACBETH – Adelaide University Theatre Guild

Reviewed by Fran Edwards

August 2011

Shakespeare's shortest tragedy may be based on real characters, but it is not historically accurate! Why the bard decided to make Macbeth a villain we shall probably never know, but the real Macbeth (who was respected and loved by all accounts) is lost in the mists of time.

This tale of betrayal and ambition has stood the test of time, in all probability due to Shakespeare's innate understanding of human nature and its tragic flaws. Michael Eustice has directed a production which does justice to this wonderful play with a set, lighting and soundscape that set the scene beautifully. Michael Kumnick (design),  Alexander Ramsay (lights) and Sean Ormsby (sound) have combined their talents well.

Initially I thought this evocative set would be wasted as the witches were a distinct disappointment. Their unusual costumes could have been overlooked, though they added nothing to the characters , but the lack of diction and a sound track which they could barely be heard above did not bode well. However for anyone who knows they play well this is merely a hiccup.

All other characterisations are superb. Brant Eustice's Macbeth balances his ambition and remorse giving us a fully realised character, matched beautifully by Amanda Schillabeer as Lady Macbeth. Schillabeer avoids the caricature portrayal so often given and shows depth and passion. Simon Davey is impressive as Macduff handling the difficult range of emotions and remaining credible.

An interesting twist is a very different Porter played by Emily Branford, who wrings every drop of comedy from that scene, as well as filling other small roles. Other memorable roles are Duncan played with strength by Eddie Knight, a sensitive Malcolm (Joshua Coldwell), a Ross with depth (Jamie Wright) and especially Banquo played with substance and insight by Michael Kumnick.

Mari Nield and Joseph Salcedo Storer as Lady and son of Macduff, play the Macduff castle scene well, it is not just brutal or just played for pathos as so often happens.

Lucy Sutherland and Karen Burns do well as the young princes Fleance and Donalbain, and Geoff Dawes is solid as Seyton. Sterling support comes from Andrew DowlingTony Sampson, Hannah Dimmock, Sarah Cullinan, Matt Scales and Rebekah Kraft filling out the other roles and minor parts. Apart from the anomaly of the witches costumes, the unusual mix of styles seemed to work and definitely did not detract.

If it were not for the small matter of the witches, I would be tempted to say this is possibly the best Macbeth I have seen, and I have seen quite a few.  Tickets I think will be at a premium.

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This production was reviewed by:

Fran Edwards
Fran Edwards
Involved in theatre since the mid 70’s. Acting, directing, costume design, back stage and more recently reviewer. Fran has experience in most aspects of theatre and an interest in Youth Theatre. Fran was a former TASA president (12yrs) has been a reviewer for 14 years.

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