Macbeth

by William Shakespeare

15th – 24th November 2007

Marking the end of our Diamond Jubilee year and helped immensely by our Awards for All grant of nearly £9,500, the year long rehearsal period was worthwhile as we entertained audiences over 2 weeks with our dark tale of witchcraft, ambition, violence and bloody murder.

The brainchild and project of Dave Hawkins, this epic production of ‘The Scottish Play’ included a record number of cast, with around 35 members involved, including 6 newly joined members.

Macbeth_Poster_sml

The Cast

Three Witches: Liz Saxton / Mary Warrington / Naomi Read
Seyton (Sergeant-at-Arms to Macbeth): Mike Long
Duncan (King of Scotland): Robertson Bell
Malcolm (Son of Duncan): Philip Prior
Donalbain (Son of Duncan): Michael Sheperia
Lennox (A Thane of Scotland): Ian Hickling
Ross (A Thane of Scotland): Paul Shave
Angus (A Thane of Scotland): H Connolly
Macbeth (Thane of Glamis): Pete Watt
Banquo (A Thane of Scotland): Nick Roberts
Lady Macbeth: Tracey Pearce
Gentlewoman (Attendant on Lady Macbeth): Brenda Prior
Macduff (A Thane of Scotland): Mark Bailey
Fleance (Son of Banquo): Nick Brown
A Porter: Eric Saxton
Old Man: Rex Costain
Murderers: William Donnachie / H Connolly
Caithness (A Thane of Scotland): Michael Sheperia
Scottish Lord: Eric Saxton
Monk: Philip Prior
Hecat (mistress of the Coven): Ruth Brown
Lady Macduff: Catherine Leatham
Macduff’s Son: Cameron Leatham
Macduff’s daughter: Caitlin Leatham
English Doctor (Attendant to the English Court): Peter Whitworth / Helen Saxton
Mentieth (A Thane of Scotland): Nick Roberts
Scottish Doctor (A Wisewoman): Eileen McCarthy
Old Seyward (Earl of Northumberland): Eric Saxton
Young Seyward (his Son): Robin Hawkins
Soldiers, Servants, Coven Members, Messengers and Apparitions: Lucy Brown, Kate Phillips, Robin Hawkins, Peter Whitworth, Michael Sheperia, Helen Saxton, Mark Bailey, Eileen McCarthy, Nick Brown
Apparition Voices: Rex Costain

Produced by Dave Hawkins, assisted by Mark Bailey & Helen Saxton

A DVD of the production is available to purchase – please contact our chairman for details.

The BBC Berkshire article is here.

Newbury Weekly News review

A dramatic tale of ambition

Compton Players required to pull out all the stops for their celebratory ‘Scottish Play’

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most frequently performed works; a dark tale of passionate ambition, murder and revenge, all laced with supernatural overtones.

Compton Players chose the ‘Scottish Play’ for their diamond jubilee production – it was an ambitious choice, requiring the players to pull out all the stops. This they did by sourcing super authentic armour and weapons, creating an impressive set of costumes to make it look good, and gathering together a committed and hardworking cast and crew.

Shakespeare’s dialogue is breathtaking when properly delivered. In this, the players had varying success. But it is difficult stuff to act. However, the plot was, on the whole, well delivered -although I felt some of the scenes lacked the physicality, emotion and atmosphere demanded by the script.

It is the weird sisters’ prophecy that first unfetters Macbeth’s ambition, setting off the horrendous chain of bloody events that unfold. These three (Liz Saxton, Mary Warrington and Naomi Read) were excellent in all respects, sinister and using the acting area effectively -I certainly wouldn’t want to meet them on a blasted heath.

In the title role, Pete Watt looked the part and handled the complex character well, delivering good soliloquies. At first he is urged on by his manipulative wife Lady Macbeth, but as the play progresses, he overtakes her, turning into a bloody tyrant until she is left behind, unable to cope with the horror that her ambition has unleashed. Tracey Pearce, as Lady Macbeth, while secure, was rather understated in her role and Nick Roberts, as Banquo, turned in a solid performance – complete with bloody apparitions.

Many seasoned regulars took the host of other roles and excellent cameo roles brought the action to life.

It was traditionally staged, with a good period feel, using the stage and floor. Lighting was not well-focused (difficult in the round), with the audience illuminated at times, which was distracting. But the actors coped well with being in close proximity and stayed completely in character.

Directed by Dave Hawkins, assisted by Mark Bailey and Helen Saxton, hats off to Compton Players for a brave choice to celebrate their anniversary. Macbeth continues tonight (Thursday) and runs to Saturday.

TREVOR DOBSON

Audience comments on Macbeth

“I very much enjoyed my first visit to see a Compton Players’ production. Their presentation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth was excellent. Setting the performance space in-the-round as well as on stage enabled the audience to engage well with the performance. My only comment would be that the use of a covering of some sort around the door at the rear of the auditorium (missing the exit sign) would have perhaps brought that particular entry point into the scenery more. The Weird Sisters were gently spooky and I loved the witch in white (well, very tatty off-white really, she is a witch!). The 3 characters complimented each other by their different styles. The complicated dialogue was well-remembered by all and demonstrated how dedicated members are to getting things right. The Compton Players used their lottery money well to stage to such a performance with costumes and props looking authentic, as well as to equip themselves with lighting equipment for this and future productions. I travelled from Swindon to see the play and would certainly be keen to return to a enjoy a future performance by the Compton Players.”

“We thoroughly enjoyed it and were very impressed with the authenticity and effort that had clearly gone into everything. The youngsters are all doing A level drama, and got lots of ideas about what they might do for their own production which they have to stage next term. So, very well done, and thank you to all the Compton players for a very enjoyable evening.”

“Congratulations on a splendid production. I thought Shakespeare would have been proud of you. You spoke the words as if you knew exactly what you were on about, also giving the impression that some of you knew more than you let on! The witches were nearly as wonderful as your three personal witches who convene on Sunday afternoons. Break a leg!”

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