The language of Shakespeare’s Macbeth really does work in Gaelic. The bloodiness of it lends itself to the guttural vowels and the aggressive sibilance. But understanding Gaelic is not an absolute must to enjoy this adapted version of the play. The only two characters here from the Bard’s original are Macbeth and Lady M; other characters appear as visual projections, adding a further interesting dimension. They become an eclectic jumble of digital backdrops and short film skits expertly layered by talented Glasgow VJ artist, Jamie Wardrop.
Most people know the synopsis of the Scottish Play, but as a non-Gaelic speaker watching the action unfold, I thought the performance had an element of the fairy-tale about it. Anyone who has heard or read any folklore would recognise the traditional story of the wayward husband, blundering in and out of particularly gory ‘scrapes’, and the wife, coy and submissive whilst scheming all the while. The use of the Gaelic tongue gives the play a new lease of life.
The complexity of the ‘MacBheatha’ character is played well by David Walker – ranging from brutish masculinity to the goblin-like Gaelic Macbeth, rasping and spitting in an ancient tongue. Catriona Lexy Campbell was Lady Macbeth as I’d never seen her before, characterised as a girlish silk-clad housewife, angelically coaxing her husband into that well-known web of treachery.
Digital cameos from other characters reference ‘freedom fighter’ videos uploaded and distributed online, creating an interesting dissonance with the folkloric element. The witches are characterised through a sort of Lynchian art house film, adding some highly enjoyable detail to the piece. It is a shame that the the two actors and visual projections aren’t brought together more fluidly, as each works best alone. However, do go and see more of Wardrop’s trippy utopian-dystopian visions at his regular Arches slot at Pressure.