Skip to main content

Macbeth


Harold Pinter Theatre

Panton Street, London SW1Y 4DN 0333 009 6690

Harold Pinter Banner
  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Previews from 1st October, opens 8th October 2024. Ends 14th December 2024.
Captioned performance: 5th November 2024 at 7.30pm
Audio described performance: 14th November 2024 at 7.30pm

Witches, forests, war and murder. A new take on Bill The Quill's Scottish play from inside the mind of the title character.

David Tennant and Cush Jumbo play the leads, Max Webster directs this transfer from the hit Winter 2023/24 season at the Donmar Warehouse.

NOTE: This show is experienced through headphones provided at each seat. Details, with information for those with particular access requirements in that area, are available at https://www.donmarwarehouse.com/macbeth-information-on-headphones-for-audience-members/.

(From the previous Donmar Warehouse production. Seen at the afternoon performance on 16th December 2023)

The thrilling 2021 Almeida Theatre Yael Farber / Saoirse Ronan / James McArdle production is but a memory. Equally stripped back for the most part, but with an elaborate idea or two, there are parallels to be drawn.

By comparison with the Islington explosion of lust-driven ambition, Max Webster’s Camden outing is simply a G.C.S.E. grade 9 teaching aid.

Everything is beautifully clear and simple, including the empty raised square stage with a soundproof booth behind, and star David Tennant whose enunciation and feel for the text should be kept from Ian McKellen lest it worry the great man.

The monkey says “everything.” In fact, the much-discussed headphones which caused anxiety among ticket holders when announced turn out to be an absolute superfluity.

Feeling like the ones Sony provided with your first expensive Walkman in the 1980s (ask your gran, kids), and with tinny sound to match, they are a distraction adding nothing to the production.

To hear the actors natural speaking voices you can take them off, only missing a bit of dialogue taking place in the soundproof booth, quieter sound effects, and some background music. If you do, you will get a sense of what might have been had the team decided to place audience and actors in the same space at all times.

To add insult to injury, for those wanting sterile headphones, a little connective box has a bright red light which does wonders for concentration during blackout scenes. Insulating tape patches, anyone? 

If you think the above is a digression in this opinion, wait until Tennant exits about 40 minutes into the piece and the whole play goes “panto” for a bit. Jatinder Singh Randhawa’s Porter has plenty of fun with the audience, but this serious miscalculation rips away much of the atmosphere so expensively built up.

Back to the point. If Tennant is a cold deliverer of destiny based on absolute faith in the prediction of (absent except as sound) witches, his wife Lady Macbeth (Cush Jumbo) is colder still.

The monkey kept waiting for Jumbo to find something in the Lady. Instead, she appeared to serve only as support when her husband’s world began to crumble, then crumble herself as his dreams faded. An odd invisibility, the reason for which failed to arrive.

Constant doubling by the rest of the cast meant the most successful actors tended to be those able to concentrate on a single role. Moyo Akande makes a towering Ross, Cal Macaninch a faithful Banquo in a strong opening scene.

Rona Morison clearly enjoyed the trappings of court as Lady Macduff, husband Noof Ousellam more the machinations.

Watching from the gallery, ensemble and musicians sometimes witnessed, played, and were replaced by a wood as designer Rosanna Vize indulged an idea.

Equally, 144 lights around the circle edge flashed as lighting designer Bruno Poet gave us a final battle – fight directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown keeping the heavy swords slow and ensuring a little drama alongside much safety.

For the monkey, this concluding scene summed up the whole production. Capable cast, competent version of the script delivered with varying degrees of exception.

One for the schools to replay if it is recorded for them, and setting a high standard in the title role. The rest is confident, competent and very slightly less than the sum of its parts, perhaps.

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 1 hour 50 minutes approximately, with no interval.

 

WHERE TO BUY TICKETS / "BUY OR AVOID" SEAT GUIDE

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Harold Pinter Theatre price seating plan
Some details will change, the monkey will update as available.
Back To Top