Dubbed as Shakespeare meets American serial drama Empire, TWIST theatre company transport 1600s Kings and clans Macbeth to modern London's music moguls and CEOs, whilst retaining the core message - political ambition and the detrimental psychological effects of seeking power for its own sake - at the heart of the Bards classic.
Nurtured by The Hackney Empire, the young theatre collective merge traditional prose with modern script, original music and inventive choreography, perfectly funneling the message of Macbeth to connect with young, black identity today.
Rivalry is showcased here with Macbeth (Andre Fyffe) and Duncan King (Kieran Smith) as rivaling record company owners, Lady M (Malika Cholwe) as a soulful singer longing for a comeback and the witches (Dominique Florent-Lee, Shadale Grant and Kali McLoughlin) an almost constant presence as a singing trio with various modern guises, wrapped up in an ever present social media and news bubble where PR is crucial.
Sure, TWIST are not the first company to click that Shakespeare and rap merge nicely or update the action, but there is a fresh energy and synchronicity to this talented ensemble that envelops you in their performance, despite their being some clunky corners. For the majority, the fast-paced script is spoken and grasped by the young cast, with hints of brilliance in Fyffe and Cholwe in particular, interspersed with stunning singing, live music and movement.
From the spine-tingling, intimate vocals of Lady M's lament, to the thumping runs, raps and grime of the engrossing witches, this version of a classic will thoroughly entertain while inventively exploring racial and artistic identity through a confident, youthful veneer.
Macbeth is on 19-20 Aug at 4.35pm in C venues – Chambers Street (Venue 34)