"Concise vision of dystopian Scotland"
by Victoria Claringbold for remotegoat on 10/08/11

A remarkably high-octane Macbeth graces the new town theatre in Edinburgh this month. Icarus Theatre Collective ensures that their shortened version of Macbeth is as action packed as it is exhilarating to watch. With sword, axe, spear and bare fist fighting it is an impressively energetic and dynamic production condensed into eighty minutes.

With dry ice, a red cloth that falls down one side of the stage and what looks like steel grey girders dissecting the backdrop the scene is set. The witches hooded and cloaked in brown are suitably creepy, as they croak, bend and twist around the stage.

The staging is effective with different levels used throughout. Mayou Trikerioti's set design includes red lights that splinter the girders at different points in the play underlining the plot and bringing out the themes of desire, death and destruction.

The actor's reactions were fantastic, notably when Banquo (Matthew Bloxham) gives Macbeth (a booming Joel Gorf) a knowing look in one early scene. Sophie Brooke as Lady Macbeth brought a wonderfully unhinged quality to the play; with wide eyed depravity she provokes Macbeth into his eventual undoing.

Joel Gorf's testosterone-fueled Macbeth is vicious and ambitious as he powers through the famous dagger speech. This is later contrasted wonderfully by the frenzied fear he shows on seeing the ghost of Banquo.

The doubling up of actors and characters make for a lot of quick changes through the play but the different characterisations are expertly realised. This is evident in the ease with which Costa Chard slips from Lenox to Fleance to Macduff. His anguish (as Macduff) at losing his beloved family is palpable and painful to watch as he kneels cowering on the ground.

The supporting cast were compelling and made this concentrated version of Macbeth a dazzling, potent production. This Macbeth is a dusky affair with some striking performances, don't miss it.

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