'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare. Presented by Loyalist City Shakespeare and Saint John Theatre Company
Now onstage at Place Fort La Tour
Loyalist City Shakespeare and Saint John Theatre Company present ‘Macbeth’ at Place Fort La Tour. What a terrific choice in production to draw Saint Johnners to the national historic site for the first time since its reconstruction.
Place Fort La Tour was the scene of a bloody battle a few short years after Shakespeare penned the now famous Scottish play, a perfect setting for this production. This ‘Macbeth’ also marked the first time Shakespeare is performed outdoors in the loyalist city which made the excitement palpable in the sold out opening night crowd July 12. If you want a chance to catch this performance get your tickets quick! The first week is already sold out.
Macbeth (Cameron Secord) encounters the weird sisters who tell him that he is soon to be given a new title and then become King. Spurred by his wife (Christina Isbill), Macbeth takes the steps needed to change the predictions from the witches into reality. When his actions affect his sanity, Macbeth becomes more and more intent on holding the crown, but another foretelling by the weird sisters lets him know how his reign will come to an end.
Director Sandra Bell has selected an ideal location for the show, and the company of actors and crew are clearly passionate about bringing the works of William Shakespeare to audiences in Saint John. Bell’s knowledge of the work comes across in this staging. I’m sure there were some restrictions in the use of the space but I would have enjoyed to see more use of the forts buildings throughout the show. However, the space that she did use was a wonderful use of the many levels offered by Place Fort La Tour.
Cameron Secord leads this company with an apt portrayal of the titular character. Secord plays a Macbeth that is quickly motivated by power, and just as easily becomes a man overwrought by regret for the actions he’s made to take and maintain the crown. Christina Isbill’s Lady Macbeth is even more obsessed with power than her husband. Isbill brilliantly delivers the “Out Damn Spot” monologue with great skill, one of the highlights of the production. Madison Lucas, Matt Hamilton-Snow, and Beth Pollock were definitely the pique of excellence as the three witches. When they were on stage as the triumvirate they commanded the space unlike any other in the company. Additional kudos must be given to Beth Pollock for her deliciously delectable turn as the Porter (my favourite scene in the show, it’s one that I always look forward to and she did not disappoint).
It was a delight to take in a Shakespeare performance again. Hailing from Stratford, Ontario, I miss the amount of Shakespeare I used to take in living there. This production was well conceived and presented. It was really enjoyable. However, the production lacks a the subtlety that Shakespeare requires for it to be a truly spectacular production. With that aside this is a production that is well worth taking in while it’s on until July 22.