Published by The Spectator
Macbeth, (Royal Shakespeare Theatre)
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of Macbeth is the first production devised and created for its newly refurbished theatre, and I must admit to feeling a little apprehensive about re-visiting hallowed ground. I had trod those boards and waited in those wings a thousand times, working with such eminences as John Caird, Terry Hands and the great John Barton.
While I (and every sane person) preferred the thrust stage of the elegant Swan Theatre to the dated Art Deco proscenium and cavernous auditorium of the RST, there was something about Elizabeth Scott’s 1932 creation that merited a degree of reverence and respect – not only because it had won prestigious design awards, but also because this was the temple in which the greats of British theatre had acted and re-enacted their sacred Shakespearean ritual: Olivier, Gielgud, Richardson, Redgrave, Scofield, Ashcroft, Leigh, Dench… To walk quite literally in their footsteps and intone in that same ‘empty space’ the greatest verse ever written was both moving and profoundly humbling. Continue reading