Macbeth at the Redcliffe Caves, Insane Root

Macbeth at the Redcliffe Caves
Presented in English
Redcliffe Caves, Bristol, UK, as part of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival                 
June 8-July 14, 2016              

Trailer: Camera/LX: Adam Ford. Editor: Philippa Whateley

This site-specific promenade production of Macbeth took part in the atmospheric, blood-red walled Redcliffe Caves as part of the Bristol Shakespeare Festival. The cast of seven lead small audiences through the labyrinthine caves as they told the story of a once-loyal soldier in a supernatural war-torn Scotland.        

Insane Root Theatre Company
Cast: Ben Crispin, Chris Donnelly, James Keningale, Andrew Kingston, Rebecca Newman, Zachary Powell, Nicola Stuart-Hill

Creative Team
Stage Manager: Chris Collier
Director / Adapter: Hannah Drake
Poster Design: Stuart Duncan
Fight Director: Jonathan Howell
Stage Manager: James Lisk
Lighting Designer & Technical Manager: Edmund McKay
Producer / Adapter: Justin Palmer
Assistant Stage Manager: Michael Palmer
Fight Captain / Additional Fight Choreography: Zachary Powell
Musical Director: Ellie Showering  
Costume Design: Sarah Warren  
Construction: Nick Woods       

Funding and Sponsorship:
Supported by Arts Council England Lottery funding 

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Selected Reviews:
Bristol 247 review: "In this claustrophobic piece of promenade theatre, a small audience is led into the labyrinthine depths, moving around candlelit passageways where both the blood-red walls and the actors are always within touching distance. Director Hannah Drake and the tiny cast of seven make clever use of the caves’ fabulous acoustics and dark nooks to spine-chillingly emphasise the supernatural elements that drag Macbeth to his inevitable downfall. Ghostly moans echo at key plot points, dark figures emerge from behind shadowed pillars to scare the bejesus out of audience members, and the entire experience feels like a wander inside Macbeth's famous ‘heat-oppress’d brain’."

Exeunt review: "Like [Iqbal] Khan’s production [at Shakespeare's Globe, Bankside, London, 2016] there is a touch of the gothic about this one (it’s performed in caves, after all) but there is also something a little earthier. It’s set in a mead-swilling version of the British Isles where fashion statements come from draping an animal carcass across your shoulders. The performance begins as a promenade through the smaller compartments of the underground network. The witches’ voices bounce from wall to wall, ping-ponging about in disorientating harmony. The environment is at its more effective during the promenade moments." "Performed within the very foundations of a modern city, Insane Root’s Macbeth conforms to the pattern of all good productions of Shakespeare in making the play seem both relevant and really good fun."

Visit Bristol review "Audiences are limited to just 40 each time because of the constricted space inside, which gives a satisfying sense that you’re in for a special experience right from the start. As we crunched through the gritty depths of the caves, modern-day Bristol was left behind and 11th Century war-torn Scotland unfolded." "In the gloomy intimacy of the caves I did feel like a shadowy, shouldn’t-be-here witness to every dark deed, and all my senses were heightened among the low ceilings and dim light, so the beat of the war drums, shuffling of feet, screaming, banging and bells that echoed from unseen parts of the caves stirred up my imagination just as it was intended to." "Being so close to the cast and action means the raw violence of the play has extra impact. It’s not always comfortable. The demise of Macduff’s daughter made many of us wince, and the final throat-slashing moments between Macduff and Macbeth were blood-splatteringly graphic." "thoroughly wicked in every sense of the word."

Female Arts review: "stunning." "Watching this play in the subterranean shadows feels like being picked up and plonked in Macbeth’s castle in Scotland in the C11th. The ochre glow of the caves, the candles and lighting create a suitably eerie atmosphere. Given the mystique of these caves (rumours abound of all manner of historical misdeeds), the location is an ingenious choice for a staging of Macbeth. Lighting is effectively used to create shadow and light: the interplay of these reflect the central themes of deception, appearance and reality." "a pacy, exciting and fully immersive production."

Photo Copyright: Insane Root and Jamie Corbin (Photographer)