DramaEdinburgh Festival FringeEdinburgh Fringe 2016ReviewScotland

MacBain – Summerhall, Edinburgh

Writers: Gerardjan Rijnders, William Shakespeare, Kurt Cobain &Courtney Love

Reviewer: David Doyle

MacBain, part of the Big in Belgium strand of Summerhalls programme for Edinburgh Fringe 2016, explores the stories of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love through the prism of Shakespeares Macbeth. Combining an interview with the pop stars, a condensed version of Macbeth, and original text, the piece looks to explore the lives of two people trapped in a mental prison.

Its an intriguing premise, and the parallels have the potential to offer fresh insights into two of the most recognisable couples in popular culture. However, that potential is never quite matched by what unfolds on stage. Instead, we are presented with a rather fragmented piece that takes a long time to get going.

The fragmentary nature of the piece is largely due to its structure, which sees the Macbeth and Cobain/Love elements of the story run separately for most of the piece. This causes the pace to sag significantly, most notably during the condensed version of Macbeth, which offers nothing new to the story. A significant trimming of the shows running would allow for a much punchier and effective show.

The design is undoubtedly the most striking and successful element of the piece. Julian Maiwalds set continually impresses, and the lighting design is among the best youll see in Edinburgh this year. The dynamism of the design highlights the missed opportunity of a piece that could have been a much more insightful, and successful exploration of the dynamics of the relationships of Cobain and Love, and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Runs until Sunday,14 August 2016


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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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