May 13 2011 by Michael Green, Chester Chronicle
MACBETH/Everyman Theatre, Liverpool, until June 11
REVIEW/by Michael Green
AN HISTORIC production of Shakespeare’s dark, brooding tragedy in more ways than one.
The most obvious is the fact this is the final in-house production to be staged at the legendary Everyman before it is rebuilt to meet 21st century demands.
But it also marks the welcome return to the Liverpool stage of one of its most celebrated sons - David Morrissey, who was part of the 1980s wave of young talent at the venue which also produced the likes of Ian Hart and Mark McGann.
Full credit should also go to director Gemma Bodinetz who may be bringing the curtain down on the theatre so many know and love but is doing so on a real high.
This is classic Bard - no novelties of setting, costume or approach, just a production that oozes quality from start to finish and as a result is one of the most accessible versions of the play I have ever seen.
For this reason alone it is a show that should be visited by anyone studying the text at either GCSE or A level this summer.
From a less studious point of view, though, it is a play anchored by two utterly memorable central performances.
Julia Ford - who admirably stepped into the breach at the last minute when Jemma Redgrave had to pull out - provides a fascinating interpretation of Lady Macbeth.
The character’s memorable opening monologue is handled brilliantly by Ford who comes across as soft-spoken, even delicate, before it slowly dawns on you that we have before us a potentially homicidal lunatic.
As for Morrissey, my God this man can command a stage! His compelling portrayal of Macbeth is infused with a sense of tarnished heroism which comes across so strongly due to the actor’s sheer force of charisma.
This is a Macbeth that you desperately want to root for even after he has been responsible for the murder of his closest friend and the slaughter of Macduff’s family.
So a memorable way to bring a theatrical era to an end - the only difficulty for Bodinetz now is coming up with something to match this when she programmes the opening production of the new-look venue in 2013.