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Review: Shakespeare’s Macbeth at Trinity College Gardens, Cambridge

The Scottish Play began the first night of its lengthy run on Monday, August 2 - and it was great to be back enjoying live outdoor theatre!

Cambridge Shakespeare Festival artistic director, David Crilly. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Shakespeare Festival artistic director, David Crilly. Picture: Keith Heppell

After a year away, the Cambridge Shakespeare Festival, which came under threat due to the pandemic, has made a welcome and much-needed return. One of the most popular events in the city’s calendar, the authentically replicated plays are given added gravitas thanks to the beautiful settings provided by the gardens at various University of Cambridge colleges.

That was certainly the case again at tonight's production of Macbeth, a classic tale dealing with themes of madness and power, and the darkness of the supernatural. Dusk turning to night perfectly mirrored Macbeth’s final decent into the abyss, resulting in an explosive conclusion that really captured the attention of the audience.

It didn’t rain, thankfully, but had it done so, it would have only added to the atmosphere - "special effects" as the man who introduced the play put it.

As ever, the nine cast members - three women and six men - did extremely well and the imagination and attention to detail when it came to costume, props etc could not be faulted.

The production fizzed with passion and energy and the Shakespearian dialogue came across loudly and clearly. What I thought was also particularly impressive were the very convincing and realistic fight scenes.

Macbeth may not be my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays but seeing it performed by competent actors in a delightful setting such as this on a non-rainy summer’s evening, what could one possibly have to complain about?

Macbeth is on every evening (except Sunday) at Trinity College Gardens until Saturday, August 21, starting at 7.30pm. For more information, visit cambridgeshakespeare.com.

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