Macbeth is a powerful act

MACBETH by Shakespeare,       , playwright �' William Shakespeare,  director �' Daniel Evans, designer �' Richard Kent, Sheffield Theatres, 2012, Credit: Johan Persson/
MACBETH by Shakespeare, , playwright �' William Shakespeare, director �' Daniel Evans, designer �' Richard Kent, Sheffield Theatres, 2012, Credit: Johan Persson/

Shakespeare’s plays have plenty of resonances with the modern world, and Macbeth, with its theme of leader whose power goes to his head, is no exception.

Shakespeare’s plays have plenty of resonances with the modern world, and Macbeth, with its theme of leader whose power goes to his head, is no exception.

Daniel Evans’s new production at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre is strictly traditional: cackling witches in black rags, lots of smoke, glistening stones and yellow-flamed lanterns. The audience is spared none of the horror: throats are cut, heads dashed on rocks and there’s a bloody head on a pole.

Add to that solid, workmanlike performances, and thankfully no attempt to reinterpret the text or create a ‘clever’ production.

Geoffrey Streatfeild is a capable Macbeth, moving smoothly from proud to ambitious and on to disturbed and almost unhinged. Claudie Blakley’s butter-wouldn’t-melt looks contrast neatly with the character’s heart of black steel, which she portrays skilfully.

The Crucible’s technical gizmos, lacking in Shakespeare’s time, are put to excellent use: spectacular lighting and sound effects, and a memorable appearance of Banquo’s ghost in the middle of the feast table.

And of course the text has the usual sprinkling of familiar quotations: seeds of time, sound and fury, all our yesterdays and a charmed life all originate here.

Macbeth runs until October 6.

LYNNE PATRICK