Macbeeth at The Hen and Chickens Theatre

If you’re one of those old school thesp types that thinks Shakespeare should be delivered word for word in a morbid and lets face it, often monotonous way, then this show is not for you.

If however you fancy an hour of simple silliness then Macbeeth is the show for you.

This ambitious production has taken a fairly well known tragedy, consisting of five acts and at least 30 characters and transformed it into a one hour comedy, with three actors and minimal props, set and costume.

Due to a large amount of the script removed, it can be argued that it is geared to those with a working knowledge of the play and plot. A lot of the humour comes from jokes which place assumption on prior knowledge of the famous soliloquies, so those without an understanding could quite easily get a little lost within the plot.

There are also a number of slapstick moments which stand alone from the play in a slightly odd way. They seem to have been added as an after thought and often lead to points of confusion or distraction. This is unfortunate because in the main, the real belly-laughter moments, of which there are many, come from the simple extraction of humour from the text itself.

Regardless of these moments it really was very funny and especially so when watching as an actor. I could instantly understand how many of the jokes may have come about from late night scene studies of the play and endless diving for new deep and wonderful meanings. The moments arise when you’ve done any one of the overkilled speeches to death and think, do we really need this bit? When it’s your nineteenth rehearsal and you’re wondering how no-one else thinks soliloquies in the presence of other characters are hilarious?

This is in my mind a play by actors for actors, or perhaps for those in schools studying the play, to offer some light relief from endless analytical torture that is GCSE Shakespeare. It’s silly and that’s okay, because we’ve got enough serious Shakespeare in the world to last a lifetime.

Buy tickets here and be quick about it, it’s only about until the 16th!  

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