Bieito's Bloody Macbeth Opens at Barbican BITEDate: 8 April 2003
Trailing headlines in numerous national newspapers in its wake, Spanish director Calixto Bieito's controversial staging of Macbeth opens at the Barbican Theatre for five performances only from tonight (8 April 2003), as part of centre's BITE (Barbican International Theatre Event) programme (See The Goss, 19 Mar 2003).
Billed as "an apocalyptic and thrilling reworking of the Shakespearean bloody tragedy", the new Macbeth is delivered care of Bieito's Teatro Romeo. It's performed from 8 to 10 April in Catalan and on 11 and 12 April in Spanish, both with English surtitles, but its media attraction has been due to reports of scenes including oral sex, necrophilia and excessive gore.
Bieito is familiar to Barbican audiences for his staging of Life is a Dream at BITE:99. He's due to reinvent another epic Shakespeare tragedy, Hamlet, at this year's Edinburgh International Festival.
Later this month, another headline-grabbing theatrical troupe, La Fura dels Baus, arrives in London with its even more controversial 'sex show' XXX, which runs at Riverside Studios from 22 April to 17 May 2003.
XXX, which aims to restore the reputation of the Marquis de Sade, is based on the 18th-century Frenchman's novel Philosophy of the Bedroom, the story of a young girl by a hedonistic group led by an ex-porn star. In a racy marketing gimmick - that has reportedly attracted the concern of the vice squad - a member of the audience is invited on stage each night to act out their own sexual fantasy.
La Fura's marketing material describes XXX as a "groundbreaking view of the erotic" which features threesomes, foursomes, a live link to a dildo-wielding woman in a peepshow, fellatio, cunnilingus, sodomy and genital mutilation. And in case that's not quite clear, it also warns: "This production contains extreme and explicit sexual themes and images throughout. Persons aged under 18 may not be admitted to the theatre."
- by Terri Paddock