The Macbeths (3 stars)

The Macbeths

Alex Brady

Dominic Hill's restaging of a poisonous marriage has two impressive performances

Shards of sound from composer Matthew Whiteside's sinewy Dichroic Light pierce the air in Dominic Hill's febrile new production, focusing on the co-dependency of Shakespeare's most famous deadly couple. These Macbeths are mired in the emptiness of hedonism, bedroom ravers with murderous intent. With Frances Poet as dramaturg, Hill's direction crafts a nocturnal nightmare, saturated in blood, vodka and cold sweat, where BDSM tendencies are played out in and around an unmade bed. The audience are made complicit in their plans as they tumble, crawl and desperately couple like stray cats, stupefied by power's pressures.

Keith Fleming's feral Thane is mirrored by Charlene Boyd's wild-eyed Lady Macbeth, their shifts in mood made explicit through the near-tacit loss of a child (represented here by a toy cast aside in a drawer) and the torturous repetition of a tape – the deed endlessly done and playing in an unraveling mind. Once a match for Macbeth though, Lady M becomes a docile doll in a bloody slip.

Two disturbingly physical performances boost a play which is unremittingly brutal, almost to the point of distraction. In spite of a lack of subtlety, Hill's framing of the two as a kind of latter-day Bonnie and Clyde, destroying themselves as others, breathes lusty new life into two characters which have become ubiquitous.

Citizens Theatre 27 Sep- 14 Oct £14 (£12)

The Macbeths

At the heart of Shakespeare’s darkest play is a disintegrating marriage. This new adaptation using a radically cut-down version of the text focuses on the relationship between one of the most famous killers in literature and his ambitious wife.

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