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Compton Players - Macbeth

15th to 17th and 22nd to 24th November 2007.

From the Newbury Weekly News.

A dramatic tale of ambition

Compton Players required to pull out all the stops for their celebratory 'Scottish Play'

Compton Players: Macbeth, at the Coronation Hall, Compton, from Thursday, November 15 to Saturday, November 17 and Thursday, November 22 to Saturday, November 24

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most frequently performed works; a dark tale of passionate ambition, murder and revenge, all laced with supernatural overtones.

Compton Players chose the 'Scottish Play' for their diamond jubilee production - it was an ambitious choice, requiring the players to pull out all the stops. This they did by sourcing super authentic armour and weapons, creating an impressive set of costumes to make it look good, and gathering together a committed and hardworking cast and crew.

Shakespeare's dialogue is breathtaking when properly delivered. In this, the players had varying success. But it is difficult stuff to act. However, the plot was, on the whole, well delivered -although I felt some of the scenes lacked the physicality, emotion and atmosphere demanded by the script.

It is the weird sisters' prophecy that first unfetters Macbeth's ambition, setting off the horrendous chain of bloody events that unfold. These three (Liz Saxton, Mary Warrington and Naomi Read) were excellent in all respects, sinister and using the acting area effectively -I certainly wouldn't want to meet them on a blasted heath.

In the title role, Pete Watt looked the part and handled the complex character well, delivering good soliloquies. At first he is urged on by his manipulative wife Lady Macbeth, but as the play progresses, he overtakes her, turning into a bloody tyrant until she is left behind, unable to cope with the horror that her ambition has unleashed. Tracey Pearce, as Lady Macbeth, while secure, was rather understated in her role and Nick Roberts, as Banquo, turned in a solid performance - complete with bloody apparitions.

Many seasoned regulars took the host of other roles and excellent cameo roles brought the action to life.

It was traditionally staged, with a good period feel, using the stage and floor. Lighting was not well-focused (difficult in the round), with the audience illuminated at times, which was distracting. But the actors coped well with being in close proximity and stayed completely in character.

Directed by Dave Hawkins, assisted by Mark Bailey and Helen Saxton, hats off to Compton Players for a brave choice to celebrate their anniversary. Macbeth continues tonight (Thursday) and runs to Saturday.