Macbeth at Harlow Carr: bonkers but brilliant

20 July 2011

Despite the recent bad weather, it stayed clear for Oddsocks outdoor production of Macbeth playing at the Royal Horticultural Society, Harlow Carr in Harrogate.

Many people had arrived early setting up camp with tables adorned with champagne and picnic food with many a fortnam and mason’s style picnic basket on display.

The oddsocks cast of five entertained the crowds as they arrived. As they moved amongst the crowd and played a few songs the audience began to gain an idea that perhaps this was not going to be an ordinary production of the Scottish play.

The set was based from a trailer (or maybe more correctly mobile stage) with the cast making full use of every part of it from the roof to ground and using Harlow Carr as a bigger back-drop.

Many sceptics may wonder how Macbeth can be funny, but, their presentation was literally a laugh a minute. Still adhering to the words of the bard, pulling you in, using the intense language that Macbeth uses, before interjecting with a joke. There-in lies the genius of the production, one minutes locking the audience’s attention with intense dialogue before taking them somewhere completely different by throwing a gag in.

Harlow Carr’s wildlife managed to join in with the show. During part of the production a small puppet raven appeared on stage just as a Heron majestically flew behind the stage, temporarily causing the cast to pause in confusion as to the audience’s reaction.

There is a lot to be said for making a classic accessible in this way and something that makes it very applicable to the Harrogate International Festival.

The production is playing for two nights with tonight (Wed 20th July 2011) being the the final night.



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