“FAIR is foul, and foul is fair” is not a quote from the weather forecast for this year’s summer. They are the words of the three witches in the opening scene of Shakespeare’s chronicle of regicide in eleventh century Scotland.
This Synergy Theatre production of ‘Macbeth’, first in the Crouch Gardens, Seaford, then in Southover Grange Gardens, Lewes, took everything the elements conspired to throw at it.
But on the last night, Saturday 21st July, the witches’ spells finally worked and a magical performance in front of an audience, no longer crouched under brollies and blankets. drew prolonged and deserved applause.
With several actors playing two or more characters, including the witches (Charlotte Tayler, Louisa Adams and Tashi Barnett), it was a masterstroke of the director, David Parton, to cast them as mischievous girls who when not tormenting Macbeth introduced each scene with a time-honoured nursery rhyme, often with sinister connotations. This linked childish spookiness with the plotting of the murderous deeds which form the essence of the play. The ancient walls of the Grange provided an effective backdrop, and each member in the small cast gave a refreshing interpretation of the Bard’s timeless words.
Bob Murdock, as Macbeth, a rugged and callous warlord tortured by his bloody deeds, and Sue Shephard as Lady Macbeth, his scheming, villainous wife, gave impressive performances and never allowed their characters to overwhelm either the historical events or the supernatural overtones of the story. Not an easy task in ‘The Scottish Play’.
There were similar assured contributions from Ian Clegg (Banquo), Joshua Spriggs (Macduff), Darren Heather (Malcolm), and Christopher Whittle, as the King, Duncan; the Porter; and the Doctor.
Macbeth is urged by a witch “be bloody, bold and resolute”, such words would not be out of place to describe this imaginative and original production.