Macbeth The Cheshire Actors Youth Theatre

“Is this the Scottish Play I see before me?”

Well, it was certainly a lot different from the traditional style and method that you would expect to see with this very modernistic Shakespeare adaptation. To begin with, the entire cast consists of just four teenage actors, who manage to convincingly condense the Bard’s darkest and most malevolent tragedy into just under an hour’s running time.

And they do it pretty well, considering the time constraints they put themselves under, as well as the fact that they play all the parts themselves. So this quartet of eager youngsters quickly move from one scene to another, barely pausing for rest, as they enact the 3 witches, Macbeth & Lady Macbeth (complete with red wig & patterned dressing gown!), MacDuff, Banquo’s ghost, and an imaginary cast of thousands!

Members of the talented Cheshire Actors Youth Theatre who, backed by a daringly imaginative sound system (that wouldn’t be out of place in “Apocalypse Now”) perform this thrilling production, and feverishly attack this tale of evil prophecy that is steeped in death, madness, and foul deeds of the night. In fact, during one particular scene, the actor playing the “Thane of Glamis” stands alone on stage, in a setting that is bathed in a blood-like light that invokes the terrors that are about to unfold.

All four young actors tackle their diverse parts with unbridled enthusiasm and brash energy, in attempting with a considerable degree of success to bring the darkened deeds from Shakespeare’s pen vividly to life. Dressed for the most part in khaki militarist combat outfits, the addition of claustrophobic gas masks brings the 3 witches to the foreground, as they foretell the tragic and horrific events that will soon grip the watching audience.

A mightily impressive attempt, and a big well done to the young players who attack the verse with hunger and realism, and for 50 minutes or so, thrust this dark tale of cruel ambition, bloodlust and crazed destiny into almost the very laps of the seated audience.

Lawrence Lettice