REVIEW: MACBETH: a tale of sound & fury (The Hope Theatre)

There are some shows you go to where you know within minutes that you’re in for a treat. 6footStories’ hilarious and energetic retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ is one of those shows.

Presented in the intimate theatre above the Hope and Anchor in Islington, the action begins before the audience are even seated – with one actor already performing in the round, adding familiar names to an arcane drawing on the floor. Looking around, the entire space is transformed into a desolate scene where three peculiar travellers (who also happen to be fortune-tellers) linger in the dirt and the dark. And these three travellers have a very strange likeness to the three witches in Macbeth…

Founders of 6footStories Jake Hassam and Nigel Munson are joined in this production by Will Bridges – forming a trio who, together, portray the story of Macbeth and play all the characters in it. Whilst this isn’t an easy task (particularly as no-one stays as the same character for very long!) the actors help us keep track of who’s playing who at any given moment by using the array of props and materials around them. Whoever is wearing the red sash (and later on, tin foil crown) for example, is Macbeth. And whoever wears the red scarf over their head is Lady Macbeth. Easy.

Oh, and there’s also a few toy monkeys thrown in, and a dash of talcum powder for smokey dramatic effect when needed!

In fact, this tongue in cheek version of Macbeth is so brilliantly concocted that the audience was in stitches throughout – as the actors threw costumes and props to each other, and jumped in and out of character and scenes with comical ingenuity.

The timing in this production is also impeccable – and this adds to the production enormously. Jake, Nigel and Will have perfect rhythm that never lets up, and the lighting and sound was used very effectively to help us jump scenes and atmosphere quickly. One of my favourites moments was actually the ‘Double, double, toil and trouble’ chant, where the three travellers/witches are dancing around their ‘cauldron’ (read: some sort of basket with various things being thrown in it) and the flashing lights and music briefly turn the venue into something of a rock concert. Probably not quite how Shakespeare originally envisioned!

‘Something wicked this way comes’ – you can say that again! There were so many funny moments in this show and it is certainly one not to be missed. This truly is a fantastic production, and I look forward to seeing what 6footStories comes up with next!

Reviewed by Rachel Callaghan @WIAAProductions

MACBETH: a tale of sound & fury is playing at The Hope Theatre until 20 February 2016. Click here for tickets