Feb 23,2013

James McAvoy thrills in ‘boyish but brutal’ Macbeth with Claire Foy

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By Claire Allfree
4 out of 5 stars

Macbeth is an apocalyptic play – a drama in which the unnatural actions of one man appear to overthrow the usual order of everything around him. The night Macbeth murders King Duncan and sets in motion his bloody ascent to the throne, Duncan’s horses go mad and start eating each other.

Jamie Lloyd’s brutal production, set in a post independent Scotland that is unlikely to do much for Alex Salmond’s campaign, evokes that sense of desperate, dystopian chaos right from the start.

Scotland is ravaged, torn apart by in-fighting, social breakdown and climate change – the witches wear gas masks. No one seems to have washed for months.

A feral, violent charge hangs in the air. Nearly every scene takes place in what looks like a makeshift bunker. The audience, pressed forward against the stage in this reconfigured auditorium with several rows of seats on the stage itself, is forced right inside this cannibalised, paranoid landscape. You can almost smell the blood. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 23,2013

James McAvoy’s new Macbeth, set in war-torn Scotland, wins praise from the stars

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Stars of stage, screen and politics have praised a new “bloody” and “intense” West End version of Macbeth.

James McAvoy, who has appeared in hit films X Men and The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, stars as the lead role in the modern take of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays which opened last night.

Claire Foy, perhaps best known for her role in Little Dorrit, acts alongside him as Lady Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s most famous female characters.

Former spin doctor Alastair Campbell and actors Rafe Spall, Toby Jones and Jason Flemyng were among guests at the Trafalgar Studios on London’s Whitehall.

The performance was met with a standing ovation, with McAvoy’s proud wife, Anne-Marie Duff, the first to rise to her feet, swiftly followed by the rest of the audience.

The play is director Jamie Lloyd’s first in a season called Trafalgar Transformed.

He said they would be “a season of politically-charged power plays on the doorstep of Whitehall”, accompanied by workshops and masterclasses aimed at school groups. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 23,2013

James McAvoy in Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios, review

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Jamie Lloyd productions of Macbeth, starring James McAvoy, packs a powerful punch says Charles Spencer.
4 out of 5 stars

The main house of Trafalgar Studios has been reconfigured for a season of plays directed by the fast-rising director Jamie Lloyd which will examine power and politics – appropriately enough for a theatre located in Whitehall.

The stage has been raised by more than two metres, and extended out into the auditorium, bringing spectators closer to the action, and there are 70 additional seats on the stage itself. It all makes for a powerful theatrical impact in this most scary and claustrophobic of Shakespeare’s tragedies.

Macbeth often reads better than it plays. Shakespeare’s thrilling poetry of violence, darkness and fear can seem more potent in the mind’s eye than when it is visibly enacted on stage.

But there is no doubt that Lloyd’s production, set in a post-apocalyptic Scotland which has been laid waste by war and climate change, packs a powerful punch. The cast are dressed in bedraggled clothes that look like rejects from the Oxfam shop, while the Macbeths’ castle, with an on stage lavatory into which Macbeth pukes violently before killing Duncan, is more squalid that a student flat during the Edinburgh Fringe.

My chief grouse is that, with a running time of three hours, the production sometimes misses the hurtling momentum of Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 23,2013

Opening night of ‘Macbeth’ – Departures

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GALLERY LINK:
- Events in 2013 > Opening night of ‘Macbeth’ held at the Trafalgar Studios – Departures, thanks to Nicole



Feb 22,2013

Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Performances

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GALLERY LINK:
- Stage > Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Performances



Feb 22,2013

Playing Macbeth is my toughest role yet, says action hero James McAvoy

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by Louise Jury

He starred in the action movie Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie, played a telepathic superhero in X-Men: First Class and won the heart of Keira Knightley in Atonement.

But as he prepares to face theatre critics tonight, James McAvoy said playing Macbeth was tearing him apart.

“It’s like being mentally ill and being beaten up a lot. This is undoubtedly the hardest part I’ve ever played,” said McAvoy, 33, of the production in which he is constantly running, fighting and proving himself the bloodied virile soldier.

“I always wanted it to be a physical production because it’s a play that talks about killing people and killing people with your hands. It just so happened that the director Jamie Lloyd seemed to want to go for that with gusto. But be careful what you wish for. Now I’m falling to pieces.”

Lloyd’s version is set in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental disaster half a century in the future, with a dark atmosphere of godless superstition. McAvoy and Claire Foy, 28, who plays Lady Macbeth, are much younger than many of the actors who have tackled the roles — including Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart — and McAvoy said their youth “just increases the tragedy of the situation”.

Shakespeare suggests that Lady Macbeth has recently lost a baby and McAvoy sees the notion of “a big hole in their lives” as the fire that drives the drama. “The tragedy of their childlessness is really relevant. They’re at an age where they should have been making babies,” he said. Foy, who starred in Upstairs Downstairs, said: “I think it does add to the vibrancy of the production that we’re younger. He’s a brave warrior. I’m supposed to be a fertile young woman. But we end up throwing our entire lives away.”

The play is the first by Trafalgar Transformed, a partnership between director Lloyd and theatre owner Howard Panter. It runs at the Trafalgar Studios until April 27. Day seats cost £10. www.macbethwestend.com

Source



Feb 22,2013

Trafalgar Studios Production Of ‘Macbeth’ – Photocall

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James McAvoy and Claire Foy posed for a photocall launching the Trafalgar Studios season with ‘Macbeth‘ on February 21, 2013 in London, England.

GALLERY LINK:
- Events in 2013 > Trafalgar Studios Production Of ‘Macbeth’ – Photocall, thanks to Nicole



Feb 19,2013

Review of Macbeth with James McAvoy at Trafalgar Studios

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Review by Peter Brown
16 Feb 2013

Studio 1 at Trafalgar Studios has been ‘transformed’. So announces the programme in bold red letters. Some extra bold red seats have been added at the back of the stage, so that some of the audience have the privilege of rubbing shoulders (almost) with the actors. And the acting area has been extended outwards too so that we all feel a little closer to the action. In fact, some of the audience sitting on-stage, suddenly felt like they might be sitting a little too close. When a torrent of blood came tumbling from on high, it inadvertently splashed several people sitting in the first row or two. One woman in particular caused some mirth among the rest of us as she tried to scrape the detritus from her once-sparkling footwear. Still, this is is what live theatre is all about and if you want to be part of it, you have to accept the odd splash of blood from time to time… apparently.

In this version of ‘Macbeth’ directed by Jamie Lloyd we visit a depressed, dingy and almost totally derelict Scotland. It feels like it could be present day, or maybe some time in the not-too-distant future. Perhaps Mr Lloyd is pointing to what might happen if Scotland leaves the United Kingdom and takes the path of independence. Another possibility is the effect of global warming, or some catastrophic economic disaster. Whatever the possible cause, Scotland is in a parlous state and the population are obviously suffering considerable hardship. Even the children and mums wear gumboots and green military-style dress. And personal hygiene appears to have taken a back seat long ago, and the clothes people wear are heavily soiled and stained. So, there are few signs of comfort in this vision of Scotland, even though there are still cans of beer for soldiers to celebrate with. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 14,2013

Review: Macbeth at the Trafalgar Studios (starring James McAvoy)

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Posted on February 14, 2013 by Poly Gianniba

Should I start at the beginning or the end? The very good or the not so good? Any way you look at it, Jamie Lloyd’s production of Macbeth at the Trafalgar studios (or Trafalgar Transformed as it’s being rebranded) is a play of two halves: until the interval, I was happy to declare it one of the best productions in recent memory. After the interval, it lost momentum and struggled to regain focus.

Some problems in the second half are due to long absences of the protagonist: his name is above the title and his performance shows he deserves it. James McAvoy accommodates the soldier, the husband, the friend and the killer with surprising ease. The words dance out of his mouth fresh and unexpected. His Macbeth is clear eyed about moral consequences though unapologetic about his choices. Apparitions, ghosts and bloody daggers hang around him as much as in him. He fights them as much as he welcomes them. It’s a fearless commanding performance of light and shade, and it fuels the production.

Claire Foy as Lady Macbeth matches his drive and strength. Their first physical contact is of birds beaking each other. Their scene in Act III is full of danger: he can snap her in two, she can throw him in hell. Their every moment together is of tenderness and death.

Read the rest of the review at the original source!



Feb 12,2013

Monarchs of the glen

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James McAvoy and Claire Foy make a murderously attractive pair.
What can they bring to the Scottish play?

Jasper Rees – 10 February 2013

In the British Museum’s Shakespeare: Staging the World show last year, the most gruesome exhibit was a set of iron gags and jagged bridles used for the restraining of witches. Jacobean anxiety about the dire influence of “weird sisters” lives on in the rituals that ­surround Macbeth. The Scottish play, as actors fearfully call it, is back in the West End; and doubtless, at the Trafalgar ­Studios, there will be much spinning, spitting and cursing to counter the usual hexes. But they can be assured of warding off ill fortune at the box office, thanks to the presence of the most attractive young couple to murder their way to the Scottish throne in living memory.

Combine the years of James McAvoy, 33, and Claire Foy, 28, and they’re still five short of Patrick Stewart’s age when he embarked on his award-winning run in the role in 2007. McAvoy’s gingery beard has stripped away some of the ­callowness associated with his performances in The Last King of Scotland, Atonement and The Last Station. “When you meet Macbeth, he’s been away for quite a while,” he suggests, “and I don’t think he’s had access to a shaving kit.” For Foy, though, there’s no getting away from the fact that twice last year — in Love Love Love at the Royal Court and in the BBC’s White Heat — she was thoroughly convincing as a teenager. She should by rights be having a crack at Juliet. Indeed, she once went up for the role at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, but the job required her to double up as Gigi. “And I can’t sing to save my bloody life. It was a disaster.” Instead, for her professional Shakespeare debut, she will be given the daggers. Read the rest of this entry »



Feb 11,2013

“Macbeth” Update: Scans, Rehearsals and Promotion Photos

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GALLERY LINKS:
- Sunday Times Culture (UK) – February 10, 2013, thanks to Chuckie
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Rehearsals
- Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Promotion



Feb 10,2013

Jamie Lloyd’s Macbeth

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When Jamie Lloyd’s Macbeth opened last night at Trafalgar Studios in London (I’ll get to the performance in a moment, but suffice it to say for now–incredible) the audience were made to wait in the foyer because “it’s not set up yet” the usher explained with a funny laugh (the type of laugh reserved for Big Surprises). We were excited, but we were getting more and more cramped. The frisson of curiosity was building. What should we expect?

We were already unsure what to expect before we arrived, as we’ve never experienced Stage Seating at the Trafalgar Studios before. At last we were directed downstairs, past the bar and then further down, past the stage door and then up again into a dystopian warehouse ringed in plush red seats. We were transfixed by the set–they had created a theatre-in-the-round and we, the audience were surrounded by the rusty, dusty, crumbling warehouse. We were all going to be in it together.

The seating was comfortable and as we had a drama student with us we were pleased to be on the aisle because much of the performance spilled into the walkway between the two sets of seats and she could see the actors even more up close—it was a case of moving your feet out of the way to keep from getting stomped on as the actors charged about.

We had been told in the foyer that the performance would start at 7.30 and yet it wasn’t until 7.40ish that it began. But then again, the performance really started the moment we were asked to wait in the foyer–crowds of people waiting in the holding area then directed according to our papers to areas where we would sit and watch the collapse of a man. What you expect to happen doesn’t, and what you don’t expect does. Intended or not, this served to set the scene of discord, surprise and wonder which would continue throughout the play; whether this was a nifty first-night mix-up or an intended device, it worked. Read the rest of this entry »



Jan 23,2013

In rehearsals: “Macbeth”

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Just over two weeks remain before Scottish star James McAvoy takes to the stage in Jamie Lloyd’s highly anticipated production of Macbeth.

William Shakespeare’s dark and powerful tragedy, which will also see Claire Foy take on the role of the tyrannical leader’s ruthlessly ambitious wife, plays at the Trafalgar Studio 1 from 9 February.

But if you can’t wait until then, photographer Johan Persson snuck into rehearsals to give us a look behind the scenes.

(Source)



Jan 05,2013

More about the New West End Production of “Macbeth”

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Jamie Lloyd will direct Shakespeare’s bloody tragedy.

Jamie Lloyd said: “I am thrilled to announce the first production for Trafalgar Transformed – a season of politically-charged power plays on the doorstep of Whitehall, accompanied by a festival of platform events, discussions and readings.

“We hope to welcome new and diverse audiences to the West End and I am very excited to engage with schools and other groups via a series of bespoke workshops and master classes.”

Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) CEO and creative director Howard Panter added: “As the first production in Jamie Lloyd’s season of work for Trafalgar Transformed, we are thrilled that this bold production of the Scottish play will blast the roof off Trafalgar Studios, bringing an electric energy to this theatre.

“It’s a great pleasure to be starting on this exciting journey with Jamie Lloyd, a truly talented director.”

The production is set in a dystopian Scotland brutalised by war, as Macbeth starts his struggle for power.

Performances will be on Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, and Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm.

Tickets are priced from £10 to £54.50, with all tickets £15 on Mondays – half of which are being made available to schools and first-time theatregoers and the other half released monthly on the first of each month.

Source



Jan 04,2013

Shameless Plugs!

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Please visit our friend Chuckie‘s websites! They’re celebrating their first anniversary online! :D

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