Macbeth – who is that bloodied man? National Theatre 2008

By | 7 August 2008

Thoughts: It sounded and smelt nice. A strange thing to say but the production involves motorbikes, fire and the clanking of steel props, the thud of stilts and the spinning of …what do you call those things that clatter – you get them at football matches, those.

It reminded me of an engineering workshop, the smell of grinding and welding.

About: Polish company’s Biuro Podrozy’s production is based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth I guess, So go and grab your synopsis. Three witches meet with Macbeth, tell of an eerie prophecy which is followed by betrayal and disastrous consequences. The piece is visual, so don’t expect too much text.

Set outdoors in a forest of tree stumps, thunder and lightning, the outdoor production is full of the smell of burning and smoke and comes with stilt-walking death figures and a barrel of skulls, not to mention the flames.

The three witches seem to skip about, no weapon seems to kill the veiled figures who survive bullets like some computer game – they were quite fun though, endlessly falling down when shot only to rise swiftly again like the ever approaching space invader. Macbeth and Banquo arrive on motorcycle, while back at camp plans are made for prisoners to be killed.

Should you go? It’s visual, so not much text to follow. You’ll get sounds, wailing, smoke and engineering smells! to help you on your way. Set outdoors, in an area just outside the National theatre stage door. It rained the night I went – so you’ll get wet…and indeed some did not stay – so fair weather.

It felt a bit long in the rain. If you did not know the piece, what would you see? Some interesting effects and smells. Go if you know the play, or read the synopsis before you go. I don’t mind the visual, but in this case It felt a bit unfocused, hard to follow, rather messy and in need of some direction