REVIEW: Macbeth starring Alan Cumming, Tramway Theatre Glasgow 22nd June 2012

Alan Cumming has said:

“I have been obsessed with Macbeth for as long as I can remember. It was the first Shakespeare I ever read, the first I was ever in and it continues to haunt and inspire me”.

It is a brave man indeed who decides to take one of Shakespeare’s most loved plays and tackle it (almost) alone. It is a truly great actor who can single-handedly hold an entire audience in enraptured silence for over 100 minutes and leave them emotionally wrung dry by the end – Alan Cumming is that actor.

Cumming’s theatrical history in Scotland has mainly been as a comic actor – and a fine one at that, but we, his countrymen seem to forget the string of awards he trails in his wake for a series of exceptional dramatic performances. The words Tony, Emmy, Olivier, and BAFTA are liberally sprinkled in his CV. Here he gets the chance to finally show his talents. The skill, grace and ingenuity with which he seamlessly tells the story of Macbeth is utterly hypnotic. He imbues more emotion, power and most of all, understanding to the tortured Scottish monarch than many full casts have managed to achieve.

The atmospheric set design of a desolate, cold psychiatric hospital and the cinematic reactive lighting is chillingly effective in creating an oppressive Orwellian feel.

This production is something truly different and special.

This radical re-imagining of the Scottish play by National Theatre of Scotland is only running for 17 performances at the Tramway prior to the show moving to New York. Unfortunately as of writing this the production is sold-out, but returns can be found by ringing the box office. It may not however, be the last we see of this production – fingers crossed for a triumphant return.

Directed by John Tiffany and Andrew Goldberg

Set Designer Merle Hensel

Lighting Designer Natasha Chivers
Sound Designer Fergus O’Hare

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