Jude Christian’s mash-up of two classic Shakespeare tragedies is clever, beautiful and breathtaking.
Creating a fusion of drama, the two shows are individual in their own right, but Christian’s links in narratives is award worthy! Condensing the plays into 1-hour versions, Christian’s direction and choice of focus are not on the male characters, but on the females, all while not losing the plot of the plays.
The plays run at a faster pace, and the events seem to happen all in one day, which creates a sense of urgency on the stage.
The movement between one play and the next is faultless and honestly breathtaking, leaving you on the edge of your seat! I have to applaud Christian’s direction on this part.
The show did take a while to get off the ground, as Paul Courtenay Hyu’s performance as Brabantio and later in Macbeth as Duncan, was a bit too hammy for my liking – think classic Shakespearian acting but times ten.
Proving she is a triple threat, Kezrena James performed Bianca, and the witch was gusto and sass. A beautiful singing voice was the lead of the female song “Ain’t it always about a man”. Christian’s compelling choice of song is repeated throughout the show and links in well with the female focus of the show.
The stand out performers of this show has to be Samuel Collings as Iago and Macduff, and Melissa Johns as Emilia and one of the three witches. Their chemistry as a couple has power and the sense of a lot going on behind closed doors. They had their backstory worked out, and you could see this from the moment they entered the stage together. Johns’ comic timing and whit was the perfect reflection of Collings’ dark and manipulative mind.
Basia Binkowska’s steel set in Othello adds to the tension of the piece as the men use it to slam their fists and their wives into the wall. Sadly, the wall was too far forward, meaning the actors only had the front of the stage for action. It felt like they were almost on top of the audience, and too close to be able to enjoy the acting. In Macbeth, the open stage uses metal strings stretched over the stage that the witches use to create loud sounds and squeaks.
This production leaves the audience feel confused and like it’s not completed, with ideas being touched on but never get completed or discussed in depth. The base of a great show is there but needs a look at how it can be developed further.