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Review: Our Country's Good at the St James Theatre

Details of Jamie Lloyd's James McAvoy-starring Macbeth production emerge (hint: it's going to be gory)

Macbeth_pressHad a teeny bit of a tip-off about Jamie Lloyd's futuristic setting for Macbeth when it was first announced but more details have emerged.

In this nice long interview with the director during rehearsals he talks about why he's set the play 50 years into the future and why he chose a younger than traditional actor to play the lead.

What is apparent is that this is going to be a gory production with Lloyd commenting: "They are getting very, very messy in there."

Later in the article he warns that those sitting close to the stage, particularly during the early previews when the actors are still getting a feel for things, may get in the gore-splat firing-line.

It's music to my ears because a) if there is fighting and killing there has to be stage blood in my eyes, always disappointed by armpit/dry stabs; b) I'm sitting on the stage in the second row, on an aisle, during preview; c) I've always wanted to have a blood splat as a (temporary) theatre souvenir.

The fact that Lloyd has chosen a younger actor (and James McAvoy so we get to hear his lovely Scottish accent) is a bonus and rings all the right bells. Lloyd explains:

“The kind of warfare Shakespeare describes is not a cold, clean bullet to the head. At one point, we’re told [Macbeth] slices a man open from the bellybutton to the chin. Killing someone isn’t something that’s over and done within seconds; it’s an exhausting process, so it makes sense if you’ve got a young man who’s full of energy, absolutely match fit and able to do it to many, many people in the course of one day. And James is a believable warrior.”

Any regular reader of this blog will know my thoughts on why Hamlet works better as a younger actor and here, with Macbeth, I think Lloyd is right too.

The Donmar's all woman Julius Caesar has the crown for the noisiest, longest murder I've seen on stage and Propeller's Richard III holds the crown for the bloodiest production. It sounds like Lloyd's Macbeth is going to be challenging those titles.

I didn't think I could get any more excited about seeing this in just over a week's time but I just did.

* This is the 500th post on the Rev Stan's Theatre blog, a big thanks to everyone who reads, everyone who comments, occasional guest bloggers and the lovely PR's who now and again offer me tickets. *