Bard on the Beach –Macbeth Review

Photo by David Cooper

The Bard on the Beach production of Macbeth ended its opening night with a standing ovation from an enthused crowd. However, when one sits back and really thinks about it, it seems somewhat disheartening that we as humans (myself included) can watch tragic events unfold in front of us with such ease. It is like watching a civil war and then standing up to applaud the soldiers.

This infamous play follows the storyline of Macbeth (Bob Fraser), a soldier who encounters three witches (Dawn Petten, Susan Coodin, and Lois Anderson) upon returning from battle. These witches predict that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor, and then King of Scotland. Lady Macbeth (Coleen Wheeler) convinces her husband to kill King Duncan (Bernard Cuffling), which results in the bloody murder of King Duncan, and as a result Macbeth is crowned as King. And the play goes on.

The casts overall execution was very well done, including the sophisticated and appropriate costumes done by Mara Gottler.

Murray Price, the sound designer in cohesion with Nicholas Harrison, the lighting director, were able to create a perfect ambiance, both visually and harmoniously that fit the tragic Shakespeare play brilliantly.

The quest for power, the ambition, and the deceit that is portrayed in the play parallels the modern day political world that we face everyday. Although in old English, the underlying truth and similarity of how the world runs is so perfectly rendered in this adaption of the classic Shakespeare play.

The darkness and violence that is constantly revealed in Macbeth reminded me of the constant power struggles, religious conflicts, and camouflaged dictatorships many countries face today. As citizens of a democratic western society, we are taught to believe that freedom and truth conquer all. However, throughout time power has made its way into the minds of people that believe that anything is feasible as long as it is justifiable.

Overall, I found the Macbeth experience very well executed, with a striking cast, and a compelling ambiance that lets you forget about the real world…at least for a couple of hours.

Lucy Komisar, award winning investigative reporter is right when she states that political plays are the best plays. These stories withstand the test of time through their narrative and innate voice and tone.  With that being said, the wonderful cast and team at Bard On The Beach has definitely outdone themselves with this one.

Miles Potter, the Director, did a great job executing this play on the main stage at Vanier Park. It continues to be a true delight to enjoy Shakespeare in all its primal glory amidst the City of Vancouver’s glowing lights.