Seven years ago, fifteen year old me sat in the front row for a piece called ‘Cooped‘, with absolutely no idea what I was about to see. In short, it was incredible. Annoyingly, I had missed ‘Moby Dick‘, so when I discovered they were returning to Edinburgh with ‘Oedipussy‘, needless to say I was excited.
It’s funny. Because of the courses I have undertaken at university, as well as the industry I intend to continue working in, Joyce Macmillan is a name that has arisen time and time again, whether through a colleague of her’s, a friend or acquaintance in connection with my courses. So for ‘Oedipussy‘ to open under the pre-tense of a past review of her’s (and having personally read her review of ‘Dark Road‘ the previous day) the timing couldn’t have been better.
Visually intriguing, and that skilled randomness down to a T, I spent the majority of the night wiping away tears of laughter. It felt like it was only yesterday that I last saw them (only this time I didn’t have Petra’s character shooting ping pong balls at me). On one hand, I’m sorry I didn’t give my friend prior warning till we were walking. On the other, I didn’t care. He’s an ancient history undergrad; it was an educational experience.
P.S. Aitor – it’s also funny, one of the first things I muttered to my friend when you appeared on stage was that you had gotten slimmer.
P.P.S. I was told off and had to do an edit. Apparently history and ancient history aren’t the same thing. Pernickity bunch…
“Blood will have blood“.
The tagline and, perhaps, focus of the performance.
The three witches doubling as the three attendant lords Ross, Lennox and Caithness was the easily these strongest image of the piece, and seemingly the most thought through. The notion that the two groups are one and the same suggests and conspiracy against Macbeth and yet, like several parts of the piece, it didn’t deliver as much as it could have. Considering how Macbeth becomes King, the scope for how far to take the conspiracy idea is mammoth.
As it was the final night, the energy from the entire cast was incredibly tangible – at least once I got past the giggles over Rab C Nesbitt’s relative, Shug, playing Duncan (Sean Scanlan). I would say Keith Fleming’s (Macbeth) first half definitely outweighed the second; it was clear he didn’t want it to end, and sadly, for me, it slightly undermined everything he had created to begin with.
The weakest for me was Lady Macbeth’s (Leila Crerar) portrayal. As this production has reduced the world to a male-dominated society, I felt a bit short-changed that very little was made of the now emphasised uneven ratio. She is invariably portrayed as a strong and all-knowing character, very aware of what she is asking for. Possibly the concept this time was the reverse: ignorance and naivety of the consequences. If that is the case, it didn’t appear as so. Rather a character who acts before she thinks, and as a result seem a bit dim.
Aesthetically, it was beautiful. I can ignore the biker leathers Macduff (Paul Rattray) was donning, giving him a slight Matrix fused with George Michael appearance, particularly during the final confrontation. The fight choreography was fierce, the blood eerily red. But the set was simply that: aesthetic. It was disappointingly underused, given the sheer scale of it.
Having said all of this, there is something wonderful about hearing Shakespeare in the Scots tongue, in place of either attempted or complete lack of accents by those elsewhere of the country. I did, however, have to stifle a laugh during Macbeth’s “Is this a dagger I see before me?” speech, because a siren immediately following the line. For someone who loves the industry, I really can be the worst audience member.