Tag Archives: Bryony Tebbutt

Macbeth

Macbeth

★★★

Temple Church

Macbeth

Macbeth

Temple Church 

Reviewed – 22nd August 2019

★★★

 

“there are several original touches that bring a freshness of interpretation to Antic Disposition’s take on the Scottish Play”

 

Macbeth is about many things, but it begins and ends with a battle. Antic Disposition has chosen a particularly appropriate, though challenging, setting for their latest production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.The Temple Church is an ancient building, long connected with warriors, from the Templars of the Crusades who gave the church its name, to the veterans of both world wars. The long, narrow, bare boards stage, designed traverse style by John Risebero stretches the length of the central aisle, with lighting hung at either end. It is a powerful space, and the actors use it well, but from the audience’s perspective, it is problematic. Firstly, because observing the action is rather like being at a tennis match, where one’s head whips back and forth to follow the players, and secondly, because the church, like all churches of this period, was designed to echo. This works well for the polyphonic sacred music of the twelfth century, but for the interactions between Macbeth’s dramatic characters, in highly complex language, often exchanged in the heat of battle — not so much. It is a problem that this production never quite overcomes, despite the ingenious staging.

That said, there are several original touches that bring a freshness of interpretation to Antic Disposition’s take on the Scottish Play. For example, director Ben Horslen makes the witches an essential part of the whole show by using them as servants as well. This means they are nearly always present on stage in some capacity, and often working their magic while going about domestic tasks. This makes intuitive sense, and avoids the hackneyed stereotypes of grizzled old women sitting in isolation on blasted heaths. By contrast, the witches in this production (portrayed by Robyn Holdaway, Bryony Tebbutt and Louise Templeton) are active and versatile — a combination that adds to their importance in Macbeth’s story. Their continued presence emphasises their power, and adds significance to the way in which they catch the ambitious Thane of Glamis in their diabolical traps. The Victorian themed costume designs of Hanna Wilkinson make the witches nicely unobtrusive in their servant roles as well.

The leading roles are competently managed with stand out performances by Nathan Hamilton as Malcolm (also doubling as a Murderer) and Peter Collis as Banquo (also doubling as the Doctor). Harry Anton, as Macbeth, partly solves the problem of the echoing Temple Church by lowering his voice and speaking more slowly and with great clarity. This technique works to great advantage with the soliloquies. He is partnered by Helen Millar as Lady Macbeth, who does her best with the most challenging role in this play, but this is a somewhat hesitant performance that fails to connect with the ruthless force that must drive Macbeth to murder. The Victorian theme of the costumes works less well for the leading characters, in particular during the fight scenes. The choice of daggers rather than swords makes the final confrontation of Macbeth and Macduff, for example, a more muted affair. But by the final scenes, the deepening gloom of the evening skies outside the Temple Church add nicely to the flickering candlelight within the church. It is a fittingly crepuscular conclusion to Antic Disposition’s production of Macbeth.

 

Reviewed by Dominica Plummer

Photography by Scott Rylander

 


Macbeth

Temple Church until 7th September

 

Previously reviewed by Dominica Plummer:
Past Perfect | ★★★★ | Etcetera Theatre | July 2019
When It Happens | ★★★★★ | Tristan Bates Theatre | July 2019
Agent 14 | | Upstairs at the Gatehouse | August 2019
Boris Rex | ★★ | Tristan Bates Theatre | August 2019
Great Expectations | ★★★★ | The Geffrye Museum of the Home | August 2019
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part Four | ★★★ | Apollo Theatre | August 2019
Showtune | ★★★★ | Union Theatre | August 2019
The Time Of Our Lies | ★★★★ | Park Theatre | August 2019
Queen Of The Mist | ★★★★ | Charing Cross Theatre | August 2019
Before I Am Lost | ★★ | Etcetera Theatre | August 2019

 

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Review of Richard III – 4 Stars

Richard III spyinthestalls

Richard III

Temple Church

Reviewed – 24th August 2017

 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

 

“a brilliantly atmospheric and taut drama”

 

In Antic Disposition’s production of Shakespeare’s Richard III, in which the villainous monarch-on-the-make plots and murders his way to the crown, London’s Temple Church lends an added imposing majesty to the heady drama.

Richard III spyinthestalls

Although, maybe not so villainous. Toby Manley’s Richard, described by Shakespeare as a “bottled spider,” is depicted as far more chirpy than despicable in the first half, and this despite the fact that most of the scenes move too fast for many of his jokes to land. Nevertheless, the acting is excellent across the board, especially Bryony Tebbutt in her three roles as Lady Anne, the Duke of York and the Murderer, and the mood soon darkens in a thrilling second half.Richard III spyinthestalls

The staging is also well done. Light is used in brilliantly creative ways: a shadow will fall upon the audience when a character (usually, and aptly, Richard) appears on the opposite end of the stage from where our attention is directed. Characters off-stage pace around the back of the seats. The pared back use of sound effectively invokes the dread and terror of the court and the battlefield.

Richard III spyinthestalls

All of this culminates in a brilliantly atmospheric and taut drama. That it could have used a tad more pace in the first half does not detract from the excellent and gripping denouement.

 

Reviewed by Alice Gray

Photography by Scott Rylander

 

 

RICHARD III

is at Temple Church until 9th September

 

 

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