BAM was previously due to host two other British-led Shakespeares – Sam Mendes’ productions of Hamlet and The Tempest as part of a the three-year Bridge Project organised by Mendes, BAM and London’s Old Vic – in January and February. However, the project was delayed by a year after Stephen Dillane, the star of those planned inaugural offerings, was forced to withdraw because of a family illness (See News, 20 Jul 2007).
Rupert Goold’s of “the Scottish play”, first opened in June at Chichester Festival Theatre, was hailed as the “Macbeth of a lifetime” by critics when it transferred to the West End, where it opened at the Gielgud Theatre on 26 September (See Review Round-up, 27 Sep 2007).
It marks the third Bard turn in the West End this year for Patrick Stewart. Just prior to Chichester this summer, where he also appeared in Twelfth Night, he was at the Novello Theatre from January through to March in the Royal Shakespeare Company transfers of Antony and Cleopatra and The Tempest (See News, 25 Aug 2006). Like Macbeth, the latter was helmed by Rupert Goold.
The director’s wife Kate Fleetwood plays Lady Macbeth in a cast that also includes Michael Feast (Macduff), Martin Turner (Banquo), Paul Shelley (Duncan), Scott Handy (Malcolm), Tim Treloar (Ross) and Suzanne Burden (Lady Macduff).
Goold’s expressionistic staging sets the story in a “timeless and nameless” East European, Stalinist state. The production is designed by Anthony Ward, with movement by Georgina Lamb, lighting by Howard Harrison, music and sound by Adam Cork. The Chichester Festival Theatre Production is presented by Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliott for Triumph Entertainment Ltd.
On Sunday, [Patrick Stewart} won this year’s prize for Best Performance in a Play at the TMA Awards, the only nationwide awards for theatre, for his title turn in Macbeth while at Chichester (See News, 22 Oct 2007).
- by Terri Paddock