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Dunsinane
National Theatre of Scotland/Royal Shakespeare Company


Siobhan Redmond
The idea of a new play being a sequel to Macbeth is mildly compelling, if only to see what could be done. That was my feeling going in to see David Greig's Dunsinane, and the answer to that question in this playwright's hands is apparently: "Not much." The touring co-production of the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts has the right pedigree but not the right stuff—it's bloated and tedious fare.

After the tyrant Macbeth has been killed, British commander Siward (Darrell D'Silva) has been sent by his country to put Malcolm (Ewan Donald) on the Scottish throne. Unfortunately, the news of Lady Macbeth's demise was inaccurate, and the Queen, who goes by her given name Gruach (Siobhan Redmond), has no intention of abdicating. Siward can't find it in his heart to kill her, so she's imprisoned while they look for her missing son, who stands in the way of Malcolm ruling the fractious country.

D'Silva brings welcome vigor to his performance, charting Siward's descent from noble captain to vengeful warrior, demonstrating how a good man can be broken regardless of his intentions. Redmond is slyly believable as Gruach, constantly manipulating the changing situation, but as written she seems nothing like Lady Macbeth, which is a problem in a purported sequel. Donald is amusingly peevish as Malcolm, and Tom Gill is guilelessly charming as the Boy Soldier who serves as a semi-narrator.

Roxana Silbert's direction is bland and unmemorable—soldiers walk onstage and then walk offstage, then repeat for 2.5 hours. I've liked playwright Greig's work previously; his The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart was a witty and creative delight last year at the Broad Stage. It seems like writing a sequel to the Scottish play was only a jumping off point for Greig, and it's quickly forgotten in a historical analogy of Scottish independence. The problem is, the play is distinguished neither as a sequel nor an analogy, and it languishes between those unmet goals.

Dunsinane plays at the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts through April 5, 2015. For tickets and information, see www.thewallis.org.

Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts presents the National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company production of Dunsinane by David Greig. Directed by Roxana Silbert. Designer, Robert Innes Hopkins; Lighting Designer, Chahine Yavroyan; Composer and Sound Designer, Nick Powell.

Cast:
Sergeant and Scottish Lord : George Brockbanks
Gruach's Attendant and Hen Girl : Helen Darbyshire
Siward : Darrell D'Silva
Malcolm : Ewan Donald
Macduff : Keith Fleming
The Boy Soldier : Tom Gill
Eric the Archer : Toyin Omari-Kinch
English Soldier : Arthur McBain
English Soldier, Scottish Soldier and Scottish Lord : Matt McClure
Egham : Alex Mann
Gruach's Attendant and Gaelic Singer : Mairi Morrison
Gruach : Siobhan Redmond


Photo: KPO Photo

- Terry Morgan


- Terry Morgan






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