WITH its murderous plot, ghoulishly bloody hallucinations and three witches pouring potions and casting spells there was no better night to see the Lyric’s latest play than All Hallow’s Eve.
A formidable cast assembled at the newly refurbished Belfast theatre for their roles in Shakespeare’s Macbeth last Wednesday night for what was to be a particularly spooky production.
The bard’s bloodiest play, which opened on October 25 and runs until November 24, is set in Scotland where the protagonist’s ambition to become King soon becomes an obsession, leading him (Stuart Graham) and his wife Lady Macbeth (the wonderfully intense Andrea Irvine) to plot a series of brutal killings on their path to becoming rulers of their land.
The most popular of Shakespeare’s tragedies, Macbeth combines the potent ingredients of witchcraft, royalty and jealous ambition in a psychological thriller that reaches a brutal climax.
Haunted by his bloody deed and the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth becomes a tyrannical ruler as he is forced to commit more murders to protect himself. There follows a downward spiral into madness as the usurping couple find they cannot escape their doom.
Belfast-born Director Lynne Parker (Rough Magic Theatre Company) said Macbeth “is one of the greatest plays ever written”.
“Macbeth is an incredibly taut thriller that will have audiences on the edge of their seats,” Lynne said. “It is a territory haunted by angry, implacable ghosts, political ambition and superstition; a play that Northern Ireland can relish.”
The all-local cast use their accents to great effect, making it a play the audience can more closely relate to despite its Scottish setting.
Talented young designer Diana Ennis has created an atmospheric set perched on a timeless coastal cliff-edge.
The witches are played with great wit and sophistication by Eleanor Methven, Carol Moore and Claire Rafferty.
They complete the large cast which includes Michael Condron (The Boat Factory), Niall Cusack, Christopher Doyle, Darren Franklin, Paul Kennedy and Paul Mallon.
Scenes such as that when Macduff learns of the death of his wife and ‘babes’ and the night-time mental torture of Lady Macbeth as her murderous past takes its toll are played out with such passion that I, as an audience member, could not help but get caught up in the emotion of a play I had barely liked at school.
This production is well worth seeing - and a very pleasant way to end an evening out in Belfast.
To book contact the Lyric box office on 028 9038 1081 or online at www.lyrictheatre.co.uk