BATD ON Oct 15, 2013 AT 10:41 am

By Debbie Djordjevic



Set in the heart of the banking sector, a new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth has opened for a short run at The Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone. Infinite Space are a new theatre company whose main ambition is to take the classics and push the boundaries with them, and they have certainly taken Macbeth and given it a modern shake-down.

Macbeth is the perfect play to set in a modern context. It’s themes are eternal and all to easily seen in the behaviour and attitude of the city banking system. Greed, ambition, ruthlessness all have their place in Shakespeare’s iconic play so sit well with a setting behind the doors of two City banks.

The Royal Bank of Dunsinane is headed up by the powerful Duncan yet Macbeth is lurking in the wings to take advantage of any weakness and take over no matter what the cost. Urged on by his steely wife and the witches, who in this production appear as tabloid journalists, we see Macbeth stop at nothing, not even murder, to seize power. Quickly though, and because evil deeds will always be overturned, the bank and Macbeth succumb to an aggressive take-over bid by Birnman Wood bank, backed by the Bank of England.

The Cockpit Theatre is a minimalist space which provides the perfect backdrop for this lean and mean production. Clever use of video, especially in the famous ghost scene where Macbeth is driven almost to the edge by the appearance of a murdered Banquo, adds to the tension which climaxes in the final scene with the death of Macbeth.

The Infinite Space cast are all strong and experienced, and what gives the production a further twist is the use of many female actors taking traditional male roles. Macduff, the HR director who defects to Birnam Wood  is played by Fran Trewin, who gives a passionate and sincere performance. Macbeth is played by Steven Maddocks who owns the stage from the opening scene. He is every inch the City boy banker, ambitious, egotistical, naive; all sharp suits and take-out coffee.

Lady Macbeth is given depth and subtlety by Danielle Stagg who goes from uber bitch to mad woman by the end of the play. She is as sharp as her husband but definitely the power behind the man, yet we see her lose her grip as they both get in far too deep.

This talented group really bring the language of Shakespeare alive and in their hands the plot and characters are easily followed even if you are unaware of the play and it’s main storyline. This is no mean feat and they should be lauded for achieving an evening that is both gripping and over too quickly!

The Infinite Space Theatre production is on until this Saturday (26th October) and is just £14 a ticket. Book now from The Cockpit Theatre box office, it’s a great opportunity to see one of Shakespeare’s most notorious plays brought to life for the 21st century.




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