Image courtesy of www.dailyinfo.co.uk
Macbeth- The Oxford Theatre Guild- Trinity College Gardens, Oxford
Tucked away in a cozy, leafy, but somewhat chilly corner of the gardens of Trinity College, a multi-level stage has been set. A simple wooden layout consisting of steps and a set of double doors, with the almost complete lack of props forces the attention onto the performances, most of which appear perfectly competent.
The first thing that is made clear to the audience is that despite a fairly faithful consideration of the text, this is going to be a rather unusual version of this particular play. A clear indication of this is that the Weird Sisters appear in triple the usual quantity.
Is it really necessary to have 9 witches? Probably not, especially when the “When shall we three meet again” line is kept intact, although the use of the witches as a chorus works well to accentuate Macbeth’s detiorating mental state. Particularly well cast in these roles are Alice Evans and Monica Nash.
Macbeth himself being played with enthusiasm by Peter Malin, alongside Sam Knipe as his lady wife, who appears more like a landlady lending a sympathetic ear.
Someone else who also exudes stage presence is William Fournier as a beefed-up, bare-chested Fleance, who makes a nice change from the usual adolescent making a brief appearance in the role.
The only negative point of having a performance outside in this particular location is the obvious noise from traffic and nearby revellers, which at times drowned out some of the dialogue, a key moment in particular being the scene with Cate Field as Lady Macduff and her son and then their subsequent slaughtering which ends up being almost completely lost.
Overall, this is a competent piece of theatre, although I’m not sure I would recommend it to someone unfamiliar with the text. With a number of major changes having been made, this is less of a new production and more like a completely new version entirely.