By William Shakespeare
Created by Filter
Presented by Filter Theatre and Tobacco Factory Theatre
Liverpool Everyman
16th - 21st February 2015

Review by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Tim Morozzo

This is the type of very unconventional adaptation of Shakespeare that John 'Hoppy' Hopkins, who died recently, would have staged in his heyday as champion of the counterculture in England during the 1960s.

This version of Macbeth by Filter (a co-production with Tobacco Theatre), renowned for their irreverent take on various of the Bard's masterworks, bears little resemblance to the more traditional way of staging his work, and that's for the best.

Usually over 150 minutes long, this interpretation is 70 minutes in length and packs a lot into that time slot, but unfortunately the lightweight music - even more galling for accompanying such an extreme set up on stage - is a big disappointment. Composed by Tom Haines, with the electronic score - that's what they call it! - played by the witches - It adds few moments of tension or even joy. It just appears to be a novelty aspect of the production. More's the pity.

The seven on stage, all dressed in well worn contemporary clothing, play numerous roles, sometimes at the same time, and perform on various electronic instruments

The most arresting image was of Macbeth himself (Ferdy Roberts), who, for most of the time, had his tormented face and arms covered in blood and feathers.

A comic moment occurred when Macbeth, lying on his hands and knees, read out aloud extracts of his destiny from a copy of Brodie's Notes about the play. Very amusing at such a dark moment.

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