If Shakespeare were around today, what would he make of all the adaptations of his most famous plays? Perhaps he’d be flattered that around 400 years later, he’s still one of the best, if not the best playwrights around. Or would he be angry at the way his characters are being portrayed and the settings other directors have used. This leads me to the next adaptation of his famous tragedy – Macbeth.
Now on at the Trafalgar Studios in London, it features James McAvoy as the deeply troubled protagonist. Set in post-apocoliptic Scotland it features all the actors wearing grey rags and eating brown sludge. According to Time Out London “…it’s his paranoia that drives him on to truly evil deeds, as he murders his friend Banquo and the family of Macduff (an impressive, moving Jamie Ballad) in response to visions he believes have been shown to him by a trio of gas-mask-clad witches. By the end, he’s so broken down that he barely reacts to his wife’s death, while his climactic battle with Macduff feels like a horribly pyrrhic victory, with no end to the brutal society that birthed Macbeth in sight.”
It is obvious that this adaptation is trying to appeal to a younger audience, due to the gore and raw-ness of the scenery and also the slightly shortened length of the play itself. A definite watch if you’re interested in seeing Shakespeare in a modern setting. On until April 27th.