Originally published in RIP IT UP
In this bunker, there is no war – instead, there is something more otherworldly going on. The vicious and desperate king and queen of Macbeth are brought down from the glen and plonked unceremoniously into a WW1 bunker. Ghosts of the dead mingle with witches who speak of the future, whilst all around them, the threat of bombs and gunfire looms. This is incredibly evocative stuff.
Jethro Compton’s production is truly inspired. Transposed to the economical bunker setting, the story loses none of its grit. The setting lends itself brilliantly to the text; equally, it doesn’t labour to squash Macbeth into a trench, for instance, but rather lets them mingle organically. The integration of WW1 imagery into the story is great, especially in regards to the witches, who are genuinely terrifying.
Jamie Wilkes’s adapted script manages to condense the original into a tight 60 minutes. The changes work a treat, as the story begins in media res, hinting at the destruction to come whilst showing us the timeline of its manifestation.
King and Lady Macbeth (Sam Donnelly and Bebe Sanders) both give fantastic performances. They have a bubbling chemistry, and twist around each other as if they were two snakes ready to pounce. They both carry themselves with grace, but can turn to scorching anger at the drop of a hat.
The Bunker Trilogy: Macbeth is better for the emotions it stirs; fear, dread, and terror, mixed with the blood and grit of a bunker and its occupants at the edge of destruction. This is an immersive experience, and one that you will not want to miss.
Rating: 4 stars