Macbeth @ Smock Alley Boy’s School

January 24, 2014

Before taking up the-not insignificant challenge of mounting a William Shakespeare play, particularly one that’s been done badly and repeatedly in the past, you would want to have a very clear reason as to why you are doing it.

You need to show the audience that you know what the writer was getting at when he wrote it, what you want to express through mounting it now and that you can overcome your limited resources to drag something from the text that others, to date, have not. A clear directorial vision should concentrate the company so they are not just a bunch of actors saying the words, but a unified force bringing life to a world, hopefully in a way that’s not been seen a thousand times before.

These are things Fast Intent have failed to address in their staging at the Smock Alley Boys School. The acting is serviceable with particular commitment shown by Claire Jenkins and Jennifer Laverty as the Ladies M. Gerard Adlum, in the titular role, bumbles his way in to power and expresses his characters inner conflict by swallowing loudly before speaking and saying each line as if in a state of panic. He uses this to help ease over the scars left on the text after it is edited down to an hour and a half playing time and the rest of the men in the ensemble follow suit. But it means that there is very little nuance in the delivery which in turn results in little feeling.

There is no imagination in the staging and no atmosphere, while the plays occult leanings and Scottish setting nary get a look in. As a production it says nothing about anything and while the acting is far above the standard of recent productions from Second Age, AC Productions and Classic Stage Ireland, there’s little here to recommend should you have seen the Scottish Play before.


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