Macbeth at C venues – C (Venue 34), 6-20 August.
Star rating: four stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ✩
This young company managed to win a standing ovation from its audience on this preview performance – and well-deserved, too.
The setting for this Macbeth story is the contemporary music business: Cawdor and King are the names of record companies, fronted by Macbeth and Duncan respectively. The witches here are depicted as a trio of backing vocalists: smart, sassy and somewhat removed from the action. Social media is constantly running a counter-narrative as we are in a state where PR is paramount.
TWIST is neither the first nor the last company to find that Shakespeare’s text and rap have a synchronicity to die for. This young cast grasps the text and delivers it with confidence and flashes of brilliance. The rap sequence between Macbeth and Banquo is brilliantly timed and choreographed – the actors have excellent timing and rapport. ‘Lady M’ is a wonderful blues singer with exquisite phrasing; her stillness could well become her strength in contrast to the action firing off around her.
The Nightwatchman scene has been updated very well indeed and suits the piece in its intention to disperse the tension with comedy. Shakespeare would love it! The Macduff strand is brought up to date with a delicate touch, reflecting our contemporary definition of the ‘family’, particularly in the public eye.
The live music is always a bonus as the performers and musicians continue to hone a piece through its run. Tight choreography and precise direction are matched by this talented ensemble. An excellent start – highly recommended!
TWIST Theatre Company (The Way I See Theatre), Hackney Empire’s new graduate company.