Tag Archives: Daniel Chrisostomou

The Tragedy of Macbeth


Southwark Playhouse

THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH at Southwark Playhouse


The Tragedy of Macbeth

“It is a whirlwind, whirligig production.”


You wander into the space at Southwark Playhouse at your peril, like an outsider may unwittingly stray through the gates of Bedlam. Flabbergast Theatre’s take on ‘The Scottish Play’ eschews Jacobean pomp, placing us somewhere in an uncertain dusty battlefield. A prolonged pre-show has the company writhing demonically, not yet fully formed. Caked in clay they are yet to be moulded into their characters. It is bestial and raw. With fractured moans and tics, elastic limbs and fits they writhe insect-like. Repetitive. Like nomadic animals in captivity – indicative of the madness into which we are soon to be plunged. “’Tis time, ‘tis time”. It doesn’t take us long at all to be swamped in their madness. We are already there. It is primitive, tribal. A mix of middle earth, pre-history, Norse warmongering, druid dystopia. A heightened apocalypse. Taiko rhythms deafen the senses, and the witches proclaim their prophecies in unison. The lunatics have taken over the asylum.

We wonder where we can go from here. The extraordinary opening cannot afford to dip, but has it got the energy to rise. Its sheer strength proves to be the one weakness that keeps the performance on the one level throughout. Thrilling as it is, it is relentless, leaving us wanting more of the stillness. More relief. But when those moments do come, they are truly striking, and the combined talents of this cohesive ensemble shine through. Attuned and in tune, the performers interact as one: their individual backgrounds adding rich flavours that “in the caldron boil and bake”. Physical theatre, puppetry, clown work, percussion, ritual, mythology, European folk music, and medieval chant are brought together under artistic director Henry Maynard’s steely direction.

Maynard is also tonight’s Macbeth (not always – some cast share roles and interchange on a nightly basis). A rich-voiced, booming presence not quite emasculated by Briony O’Callaghan’s Lady Macbeth. O’Callaghan, vampiric in her thirst for blood and status, gives a striking performance, both baiting and taming Maynard’s feral Macbeth. The supernatural nature of Shakespeare’s play is powerfully portrayed, often relying on just the performers’ bodies. Deep red wine symbolises the copious spilt blood. At times the wine and blood are as one, especially when Simon Gleave beautifully crackles as Banquo’s ghost, spitting and pouring claret-hued and venomous fear into the veins of Macbeth. Flabbergast are not afraid to go out on a limb, while remaining loyal to Shakespeare’s text. Comic relief comes courtesy of Dale Wylde’s Porter; a rubber-faced, New-Age Mr Bean at the gates of the castle.

Multi-rolling Daniel Chrisostomou comes into his own, particularly in Act Two as Macduff, plotting his revenge, while Kyll Thomas-Cole’s eye-catching Malcolm teases and tests his motives. One of the more riveting scenes, on a par with the stillness of the soliloquies. These moments, though, struggle to be remembered once the panoramic bombast subsides. The symmetry, synchronicity and physicality of the performance is undeniably exhilarating. It does not probe too deeply into the sexuality or the chemistry between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In today’s climate one expects the subject matter inherent in the text – what does it mean to be a man, or a woman? – to be milked for all its worth and given the ‘correct’ treatment. This show, deliberately or otherwise, admiringly leaves it up to the audience, respecting intelligence by not spooning out popular judgement. The resonance stands on its own.

It is a whirlwind, whirligig production. One that captures the ethos of “Macbeth”, even if the story is one of the casualties, strewn among the body count. Yet it is a powerful, thrilling and quite extraordinary interpretation. A unique, sensory overload that can probably be heard across Southeast London, but should definitely be experienced up close.



Reviewed on 16th March 2023

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Michael Lynch



Previously reviewed at Southwark Playhouse:


Smoke | ★★ | February 2023
The Walworth Farce | ★★★ | February 2023
Hamlet | ★★★ | January 2023
Who’s Holiday! | ★★★ | December 2022
Doctor Faustus | ★★★★★ | September 2022
The Prince | ★★★ | September 2022
Tasting Notes | ★★ | July 2022
Evelyn | ★★★ | June 2022
The Lion | ★★★ | May 2022
Anyone Can Whistle | ★★★★ | April 2022

Click here to read all our latest reviews


Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde


VAULT Festival 2020

Jekyll & Hyde

Jekyll & Hyde

The Vaults

Reviewed – 25th February 2020



“Fire Hazard Games offer a slick production”


Combining mobile gaming, real-world scavenger hunting, narrative storytelling and live performance, Jekyll and Hyde is the latest immersive experience from Fire Hazard Games.

Players meet the chemist Emerson Frey (Daniel Chrisostomou), the lawyer Jude Edmonton (Tim Kennington) and the psychoanalyst Aubrey Goldmann (Chloe Mashiter) who explain that last night you committed a terrible deed. However, you, Dr Jekyll, cannot remember what you did as you took a mysterious serum that both altered your personality and caused selective amnesia of the night’s events.

Players – either solo or in a team of up to three – must thus uncover their missing memories by solving online clues and make decisions about their future, all while under increasing time pressure.

The plot is relatively simple, and there is a fair degree of customisation depending on the choices made. However, it is rather easy for players to ignore the game’s story and focus only on solving clues, as one does not need to remember earlier information to solve later clues.

There are 21 locations with clues to solve around the Waterloo area. It is unlikely that players will have time to cover all of these which gives the game a fair amount of replay value. The most atmospheric locations are the Church (set in the spooky grounds of St John’s Church on Waterloo Road) and the Hospital (set outside the nineteenth century Royal Waterloo Hospital for Children and Women). Other locations, such as Press Night (next to the Young Vic), do not set the scene so well, with blatant reminders – like a Sainsbury’s Local – that players are not in fact exploring Victorian London.

At select locations, Frey, Edmonton and Goldmann will appear to offer players a deal that will affect the outcome of their game. For example, at the Church, Frey makes a frightening appearance, encouraging you to come under his ward and continue the experiments with the mysterious serum. The trio do well to stay in character and are a helpful reminder to think beyond clue hunting and about the wider story.

Unfortunately, not every team will meet the characters individually as this is entirely dependent on the locations one visits. This is a shame for those participants who are especially interested in becoming immersed in the story and its world.

The mobile aspect of the game works well for the most part, though poor internet connectivity outside the VAULT Festival where the game begins does not fill players with much initial confidence. The game is dependent on a strong internet connection and significant phone charge and if these fail there is no way to rejoin. Frey, Edmonton and Goldmann can track players and their actions on their own devices which are cleverly hidden in empty book props. This also means that they can tailor their conversations if they do meet.

Jekyll and Hyde is a lot of fun and Fire Hazard Games offer a slick production that does fairly well to adapt a complicated and multifaceted experience to different interests and game play styles.


Reviewed by Flora Doble


VAULT Festival 2020



Click here to see all our reviews from VAULT Festival 2020