Mr & Mrs Macbeth of Heathcote Valley Road

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

18/05/2024 - 22/06/2024

Production Details


GREGORY COOPER
Director

The Court Theatre


Mark Hadlow and Lara MacGregor reunite to bring to life (and almost death) their characters, husband and wife duo Jo and Tom Macbeth – professional actors who have a reputation as Shakespearean specialists.

Masterfully written by Gregory Cooper, it all begins 30 minutes before curtain-up in the dressing room, where something major has happened. Not great timing.

Crisp, sharp dialogue, revelations and discoveries on both sides provide moments of emotion, accusations and crackling synergy. With a crisis just before the interval, disaster seems imminent. The second half is filled with every actor’s nightmare – being in the wrong play at the wrong time, especially when Taika Waititi is in the house casting for his Amazon-funded film version of the Shakespearian tragedy.

Enjoy a rollercoaster ride of comedy, drama, poignancy, and explosive conflict, as these two stage dynamos reveal the highs and lows of partnerships, on and off the stage. Mr & Mrs Macbeth of Heathcote Valley Road will appeal to all, including those who hated Shakespeare at school.

The Court Theatre
18 May – 22 June
Tickets $65

Mr & Mrs Macbeth (of Dodson Valley Rd played at theatre Royal Nelson in 2023.


Mark Hadlow - Tom Macbeth
Lara Macgregor - Jo Macbeth

DESIGN TEAM
MARK MCENTYRE Set Designer
PAULINE FARLEY Costume Designer
BOB BICKERTON Sound Designer
SEAN HAWKINS Lighting Designer


Theatre ,


Approx: 2 hours (including 20-minute interval)

Smart, funny and delivered by consummate professionals.

Review by Ali Jones 22nd May 2024

First reviewed in June last year when Mr & Mrs Macbeth of Dodson Valley Road opened in Nelson, this play was the debut production of the Professional Theatre Company there.

Back to 2024 Ōtautahi Christchurch at The Court Theatre, and the Macbeth’s have moved and are now living in Heathcote Valley Road.

They may have a new address, but the story is the same. Jo and Tom Macbeth are on a national tour of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Jo plays Lady Macbeth and Tom’s had been playing the title role for years, but on this occasion, with his “star slightly waning”, a younger, more handsome and bankable bloke has taken the lead. You know the type – been on all the reality TV shows and has a gazillion followers on Insta and TikTok. His name is Ian but pronounced Iron and Tom, who’s been relegated to understudy, despises him.

The play is set in the Macbeth’s dressing room, within a metal light frame lined by led strips; a minimal and effective design from Mark McEntyre. It’s about 30 minutes from curtain up on Macbeth, the play. Mr and Mrs Macbeth of Heathcote Valley Road is about that lead-up and the play getting underway. I’m not going to give away what happens because, to be frank, it’s a good story and I don’t want to spoil it.

And it’s a story I’d describe as familiar and absorbing, delivered in a well-crafted way by consummate professionals. I use the word ‘familiar’ because anyone who’s been married for 20-plus years will see themselves and their relationship in Jo and Tom Macbeth. They fight, they hurt – emotionally and physically; even after 30 years they learn new things about themselves and each other. But it doesn’t get too heavy. In fact, that’s what I really enjoy about it – the pace is perfect to see and hear, reflect, think, and then things move forward.

The script is smart and clever without trying too hard. The layering of the Macbeth’s relationship with Macbeth by Shakespeare, and the staging of it within this production, seems almost effortless. Which is good. Anytime you are pulled from what you are watching because your brain is telling you ‘that was clever’ or ‘wow, nice writing’, then it’s trying too hard. That doesn’t happen here.

It is a pleasure to watch Hadlow back on The Court stage again, particularly in the scenes where his physical comedy ability really shines. He doesn’t cross into farce and his timing is always spot on. Macgregor is no slouch in that area either, and the different shades of anger, bitchiness and empathy she shows in Jo Macbeth are absorbing to watch.

And it’s funny – really funny. The second half speeds along with both actors using the numerous opportunities Gregory Cooper’s script gives them to bounce off one another, and the audience loves it.

Finally, the volume of the music could be turned down a notch or two in places, as I felt it overwhelmed the actors at times, often during pivotal Macbeth storytelling moments.

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