"Treble, treble, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble."
Not strictly the words of Shakespeare’s Scottish play, but this was certainly the case at the Contact Theatre on Thursday night.
The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages programme came to Manchester as The People's Theatre Company, Barton Theatre Company, and Chester Theatre Club performed their own interpretations of the bard’s Macbeth in back-to-back shows.
The three groups trod the boards at Contact to portray 20-minute excerpts from one of the most famous tragedies in literature in a seamless fashion.
In a play that quintessentially embodies conflict and mystery, it was fitting that the tone of the evening was captured by the macabre portrayal of the three witches.
Despite the inherent conflict of having three separate companies performing the same play and the same characters consecutively, the transition was smoothly executed and the potential pitfalls of confusion were avoided.
The stripped-down, raw nature of the production allowed the bard’s words to have the maximum impact in an intimate setting. It was theatre without the theatrics.
Macbeth's desire to "cut short all intermission" was fulfilled.
The minimalist production gave the actors the perfect platform to fully express the subtle intricacies of the play that could be lost on a more elaborate production on a bigger stage.
The RSC Open Stages is currently running nationwide, aiming to re-forge the bond with the world of professional theatre and hoping to embrace and celebrate amateur productions.
“By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.”
The Contact Theatre will host another two nights of intimate performances and tickets are available from £5.
Friday 25 May, 7.30pm.
The King's Troupe: King Henry IV Part I
Riverside Drama Company: The Pocket Dream (by Ellie-Brewer and Sandi Toksvig)
Bingo Dragon Theatre Company: Richard III
Saturday 26 May, 7.30pm.
PurpleCoat Productions: Titus Andronicus
Indulgence Theatre Company: A Sonnet For Anne (new writing)
What We Did Next: Any Other Name (new writing based on The Portrait of Mr W.H.)
For more information, visit www.contactmcr.com or call the theatre on 0161 274 0600.