Macbeth by Bingo Dragon Theatre
Bingo Dragon Theatre Company is one of Lancaster’s newest theatre groups, and has now performed four of Shakespeare plays over the last two years.
Quite a feat – and they’re now touring the North West for the first time as well as being the first theatre company to perform in the off-the-wall setting of Lancaster Brewery.
Their latest offering, Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which comes to Preston’s New Continental for the last show of their tour tonight, uses the Folio text with only minor cuts in an intelligent, powerfully dark performance of the bloody drama, with suitably menacing musical accompaniment on percussive beer barrels. The use of the Brewery’s bar-cum-events space was commendably innovative. The sound of the ventilation system was an intrusion, though the diction of the cast was strong enough to overcome most of the background noise.
Playing Macbeth with only eight actors, and of these only three were men, was hard work for the cast, even with suggestive and intelligent costume changes, and caused some confusion about which character was which of the original two-dozen plus rôles.
The servants, soldiers and messengers can be doubled (and were in the 1600s), but to have King Malcolm also playing one of the three witches was bewildering.
But the main ingredients of a good show were certainly in place – pace, clarity, focused direction from Sammi Searle, use of space, visual and visceral impact and so on.
Of the cast, Paul Sellwood played the lead with panache and passion, native Scot David Findlay was a dignified Macduff, the hero’s nemesis, and Rachael Hunt encapsulated exactly Lady M’s emotional collapse.
I hope this performance will attract more young people to become involved with Bingo Dragon in the future – there’s certainly no shortage of talent in the Lancaster area. I’m certainly looking forward to their next production.