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DD140920 and DD140944 are shots of a newspaper clipping of a review by B. A. Young of Macbeth (1971), showing a photograph by Derry Moore of the principal two actors, Hildegard Neil and Alan Dobie.


An all-embracing darkness
cloaks the angular timber rocks
of Roger Butlin's set. The
characters are picked out by the
sparing glimmer of spotlights;
they wear costumes more ser-
viceable for the field than for
the court. They are of no period
or place, and the sounds round
them are electronic and
anonymous. Ewan Hooper's
object in his production is to
show how the play is appropriate
for all countries and all cen-
turies, but he is hamstrung by
a lot of rather unimaginative
  Too many of the parts are in-
distinguishable from one an-
other. With a small company
(there are only four guests at
Macbeth's grizzly supper party)
a lot of doubling is inevitable.
In the circumstances more atten-
tion should have been paid to
emphasising individuality in the
characters as much as possible.
Instead, all the smaller parts
seem interchangeable, except, of
course, for such special cases as
the Old Man and Macduff's son.
  One thing that should be cor-
rected even at this late moment
is the doubling of Donalbain and
Caithness by Robert Lister.
Caithness's first line is "Who
knows if Donalbain be with his
brother?"--and there is Donal-
bain asking it.
  What is more serious, most of
the company speak with an
alarming lack of clarity. There
is a sad amount of gabbling
and muttering. A special award,
therefore, for Robert Tayman in
the little part of Lennox for clear
and intelligent speech and a con-
solation prize for Richard Gale
as Malcolm, who at least always
speaks out, even if he sometimes
gives us some oddly inflected
lines and some wicked dropping
of his voice at the end of phrases.
  Alan Dobie's Macbeth is
serviceable, but he too is sparing
of personality. "Is this a
dagger?" comes out almost
casually, as if it really might
have been. His performance is
marred to my ear by his indul-
gence in the fashionable habit of
inserting long Ceasuras at the
most extraordinary points in his
lines. "We will proceed no
further in this business," for
example, has a short pause after
"proceed" and "no" and a vast
one after "further".
  As Lady Macbeth, Hildegard
Neil is curiously un-evil. She
says "unsex me here" almost
sweetly and her face gleams
with good nature as she says
"Oh, never shall sun that
morrow see." The witches, too,
are uncommonly gentlewomanly.
They sing their cauldron recipe
to a waltz song like the doctors
in Wozzeck.
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