City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Blood Will Have Blood, C Nova, Review

By Bill Dunlop - Posted on 10 August 2016

Show details
C nova
Running time: 
Clancy Flynn (writer and programmer) Rosanna Mallinson (director), Nicola Chang (music)
Jamie Birkett, Dan Buckley (voices)

The notion of pursuing Fleance, the son of Banquo, off the stage and out of Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ is an interesting one.

The idea of creating a story for a character that already exists is one that has inspired others, perhaps most notably Jean Rhys, who, in her novel ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ imagines the previous life of the unfortunate Mrs. Rochester of “Jane Eyre’.

Fleance escapes the fate of his father, murdered at the orders of Macbeth and is here transported to another somewhat strange version of early medieval Scotland. It’s a wonderful opportunity to imagine what might happen next. Unfortunately it isn’t taken up here with the verve and élan such ‘what ifs’ really require.

The problem, for this reviewer, lay in part with the technology used – each audience member is equipped with headsets through which the narrative is communicated. In the performance seen, there was a lengthy delay while several sound checks were made. Even this did not prevent sound ‘dropping out’ at some points, and in the reviewer’s case, the batteries failed approximately two thirds of the way through, rendering the latter part of the narration largely inaudible.

Technology may be a wonderful thing when it works, but when it is an essential part of the overall experience it is also essential to ensure that it does.

The other aspect of ‘interactivity’ consisted of a certain amount of audience participation in Fleance’s journey – we were Fleance, as far as this production intended.

The other major problem with this play is that we were not – Fleance that is – nor did the space we were in transform into an early medieval Scotland of the mind. At one point ‘Cameron of Lochiel’ made an aural appearance in our headsets, some six hundred years before the most well known bearer of that title was alive.

There may have been other solecisms, mercifully hidden from this reviewer by a wall of silence, but it gave the impression that the writer was somehow unaware of an historical Macbeth living in a real world that is not that of the play, nor did there seem to be any attempt to negotiate a world in which ‘Blood Will Have Blood’ could comfortably exist in tandem with both.

This is clearly an ambitious young company that seeks to test the boundaries of theatre using new technology. In itself, this is by no means an unworthy ambition, and it’s a great pity that an exciting idea and fresh interpretation should founder on a combination of what seemed to be technical over-ambition and an unfamiliarity with primary sources other than Shakespeare’s play. For this reviewer, at least, Fleance’s story remains untold.

Times: 10-29 August, 2.15pm and 9.15pm.
Tickets: £9.50-£13.50