Review: Make no mistake, That Scottish Play! lives up to its exclamation mark

That Scottish Play! is a fine production by Commedia of Errors Theatre Company


That Scottish Play!

Lyric Theatre Belfast

AFTER one of those days, I was tired and cold and off to the Lyric to review a play. To enjoy it would be a bonus. Well, I got my bonus and so did the audience. During the interval I overheard a young woman laughing and telling her friend: “Well, it isn’t May McFettridge!”

Having said that, there are elements of pantomime in this fine production by Commedia of Errors Theatre Company. Three actors play all the roles and with the use of grotesque masks, cloaks and excellent acting, each character comes through loud and clear.

The exclamation mark after the title is the secret. This is tongue in cheek, Shakespeare’s rich dialogue with the benefit of local comments and tricks of speech.

When a dagger can’t be found, a toy yellow digger is substituted which makes the menacing death scene comical: “Is this a digger I see before me” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Game of Thrones gets a mention, the message that Banquo has been murdered comes to Macbeth in code – "the banks are closed" which gives rise to some very funny asides.

We’re asked to participate, half the audience making scary ghost noises, the other half making wind-in-the-trees noises and all of us booing on cue and I don’t think any other production would have tomato soup in the witch’s cauldron or a sing-along with A Windmill In Old Amsterdam!

It helps to know the story of Macbeth – otherwise it would be very hard to follow – but suspend all thought of this being the conventional Shakespearian tragedy; although done in the style of the bard, this adaptation is worthy of the exclamation mark.

This company has a style of it’s own and apart from being one of the three actors, director and man behind Commedia Benjamin Gould has succeeded in entertaining his audience royally.

With Conor Hinds and Rosie McClelland, this is the type of neat, tight show that could go anywhere and probably will. I was disappointed that one member of the stage crew didn’t take a bow – as if choreographed, he deftly changed the stylised scenery in a most delightful way.

:: Until Saturday January 27 (matinee on Friday); for booking see or call 028 9038 1081.

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