City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Burn Out Macbeth: A Southern Gothic Tale


By iainmac - Posted on 11 August 2008

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Venue: 
The Vault
Company: 
Hendrix Players
Running time: 
30mins
Performers: 
Justin Warren (Macbeth), Michael Goodbar (Duncan), Sarah Johnson (Aint Caroline)

Never having been to see anything at the free fringe, I had no idea what to expect. Entering the space, we were all given a warm welcome from who I assumed to be the director. The theatre was filled with about 25 people, leaving 15 or so seats empty, which suggested that it must be good. Burn Out Macbeth was loosely based on Shakespeare's tragedy, so at least I knew the plot, or so I thought.

The production started off with a lively Southern tune sung by the cast of seven which got the audience enthused and clapping. From then on, though, the production spiralled into stereotypes and a plot that was far too loose at points. The play ended up making fun of the deep South, having two of the actors wearing false "hill-billy" teeth and references to incest throughout. It strikes me as a mystery why an Arkansas-based group would want to demonstrate the prejudices of their culture which so many people already have and often satirise.

The person I assumed to be the director sat at the front row laughing and clapping throughout which became distracting and contrived. The rest of the audience's enjoyment never really went further than a quiet titter and the heightened Southern accents were often incomprehensible.

A few of the saving graces were the way in which the company had entwined some lines from Shakespeare's original text within their play and also Sarah Johnson's beautiful physicality for the embodiment of the three witches.

The production was free, after all, so I guess one can't complain too much.

Times: Aug 5-9 at 18:15