Thursday, September 28

Vote Macbeth! – The Space @ Surgeons’ Hall

Part 4 of my Fringe of ’23, Macbeth marathon, sees another murder, this time set in the present day that boils and bubbles its way through a very dense script/lib to end with its own toils and troubles.

The common theme in disappointing shows is that they inevitably try to do too much, and there could hardly be a better example than this one. From the singular hand of John Paul Liddell, writing, composing, directing, acting and singing (very nicely BTW I might add!) in the Macbeth lead role, there is no air at all left in this one by the end.

A dense and wordy treatise on political power, where Macbeth is president, I assume of a post-Independent Scotland, set in the near future, the musical is comprised of 18 songs, which run non-stop, top to tail, with no dialogue in-between. No rest for the wicked.

The audiences’ understanding and following of the story comes from carefully listening to the lyrics, sung in various ways by various voices of various quality, with varying levels of discern-ability, by a large cast. Phew!

Some of the songs are particularly well written, some of the singing is very well handled, particularly so when the ubiquitous three witches-turned-newswomen are involved. But it is exhausting! And who comes to the theatre for a work-out?

This is not a complete tragedy and there is enough here to suggest that all is not lost, and that with further development, a bigger stage, perhaps an orchestra, a bit more ‘air’ and no Beyoncé moment(?!) this could end up as something really special.

Reviewer: Greg Holstead

Reviewed: 17th August 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.