A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca


12 March 2024
Dock X
3.0 out of 5.0 stars

I’m not sure why, but this is the year of double and triple versions of the same play in London. One example is Macbeth, which seems to have a myriad of different productions lined up in 2024. Among them is directed by Simon Goodwin, starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma as the power-hungry couple in the midst of a tragedy.

Dock X, the new large event venue in Canada Water, has been transformed into a desolate war zone. Upon entering the auditorium, visitors are greeted by piles of rubble with a full size wrecked car, flames licking the inside of the windowless cabin, in the middle, debris strewn among rubble, some gnarly trees lining the narrow walkways. From here, large doors on either side of the stage lead to the bleacher-style seating erected in a C shape around the rugged stage, lined with more rubble. It is a stunning visual, while also being an indication of the plot being set in a more modern setting. Soldiers in camo suits patrol up and down the stage, glaring up at the audience vigilantly, while the tension in the room rises as patrons take their seats. Throughout the show, the choice of wardrobe for all actors is held very modern, with men wearing suits and ties, or military garments, the witches slink about in street clothes, while Varma is clad in elegant dresses. This seems a bit at odds with the classic play, bringing the aesthetics a little too far into modern times and creating a sense of disconnection from the story itself.

While Fiennes and Varma act exquisitely, the disconnect between the contemporary visuals and traditional plot was never fully overcome, creating an uncomfortable uncanniness that doesn’t quite suit Macbeth well. The performance itself is slow, at times dragging, with little payoff at the end. An ambitious retelling of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays that fails to fully convince.

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