Aug 11, 15, 17, 19 - theSpace @ Surgeons Hall
Captain Macbeth is Vice-President. He and Lady Macbeth want more. Standing in their way are three all-knowing newsreaders, President Duncan, press secretary Macduff, Hecate the diva queen of all media, and Macbeth’s dashing comrade, Banquo. In this tale of ambition, guilt, murder, power, vengeance, and press manipulation, with an original pop-musical-theatre score, it’s up to you to decide if they get their way.
I have seen Shakespeare plays on stage many times over the years and the accessibility of the text has always been something from school I have struggled with. It helps when there's been a celebrity on stage in the form of Patrick Stewart to Benedict Cumberbatch to entertain me as I just marvel at their performances all the while the text becomes trying to tune my ear to a fast-moving foreign language and I follow the play by years of osmosis. However, I found Vote Macbeth with its approach of tackling the text as a piece of musical theatre with an impressive eighteen catchy songs one of the best ways for someone like me to experience Macbeth.
Macbeth's themes of power, ambition, manipulation, and political intrigue have meant for every generation there has been a reason to bring the text to the modern age. Experiencing Vote Macbeth felt very fresh even in this era of long worn-out Trump parallels as Macbeth a populist politician with a red tie aims for the top and will say and do whatever to get there.
Vote Macbeth's big theatrical numbers have you excited at the prospect of seeing this production in a larger venue in the future as it reminds you of your experience of watching Hamilton as you enjoy the whiplash of a subject most people will associate with stuffy classrooms into something much more high energy where you just find yourself going with the flow of the music in an incredibly tight 65 minutes long performance.
Produced by the Glasgow-based Clydebuilt Theatre Company it was great to hear the famous Scottish play complete with Scot's tongues once again. In the role of Macbeth, writer, director and composer John Paul Liddle leads a fantastic troop of talent. The leads all deliver to make the show engaging but I wanted to highlight Michael O'Hare as the short-lived Duncan King who has a brilliant stage presence for such a new theatre actor but his background and charisma performing in band shines through. The chorus of witches now taking on the guise of newscasters was an inspired creative decision and Molly Cowie as the lead newscaster was someone you couldn't take your eyes off as she tapped into the over-the-top and performative reactions we get from so many political commentators like Tucker Carlson on television to everything going around them and enabling drama and viral coverage in the process.
There are nearly sixty different Shakespeare musicals, performances and readings taking place at this year's Fringe competing for attention but this one left me smiling and with many of the strong eighteen songs still playing in my head the next day.
Book your tickets here > https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/vote-macbeth