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Feb 18 13 9:36 AM
James McAvoy takes on the role of Shakespeare's tyricanical Scottish ruler in a new production directed by Jamie Lloyd.One of Shakespeare’s darkest and most powerful tragedies, Macbeth tells the story of a Scottish general whose ascension to power is fuelled by ambition and paranoia.Best known for his on screen roles in films including The Last King Of Scotland, Atonement and X-Men, McAvoy, who was last seen in the West End in Lloyd's production of Three Days Of Rain, has appeared on stage in Breathing Corpses at the Royal Court, Privates On Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and Out In The Open at the Hampstead theatre.Lloyd, whose production of The Duchess Of Malfi played at the Old Vic in 2012, has previously directed productions including She Stoops To Conquer at the National Theatre, Inadmissable Evidence and The Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the Donmar Warehouse, and The Faith Machine and The Pride at the Royal Court.Macbeth is the first play in Trafalgar Transformed, a season of political plays that will be accompanied by a festival of platform events, discussions and readings.They have also posted More Photos from the play: http://www.officiallondontheatre.co.uk/london-shows/show/item165972/macbeth/
Feb 18 13 9:56 AM
A true talent + wicked sense of humour + charming personality = James McAvoy: Undeniably, a Scottish "legend in the making".
Feb 18 13 10:14 AM
“@*******:if you're still in London,go see a show,there's some great stuff on at the minute!” Got to see James McAvoy CRUSH Macbeth!!!
Feb 18 13 10:58 AM
Feb 18 13 3:06 PM
Feb 18 13 3:29 PM
Feb 18 13 4:00 PM
Feb 18 13 7:19 PM
Feb 19 13 1:17 PM
Feb 19 13 1:28 PM
Photo: Louise Haywood-Schiefer
So you’ve not been held back… ‘I didn’t
feel there was anything to lose. I didn’t really want to do it [acting]:
I’d never considered doing it until I was doing it. I didn’t think:
*!@%, I want to get up there and I’m never going to make it.’But you’re a Hollywood star: isn’t it foolhardy to do ‘Macbeth’ in a London studio space? ‘I’m
not going, “Oh no! What the *!@% am I gonna do?” but I can’t stop
thinking about the scenes. I woke up the other night: I wasn’t even
dreaming about my Macbeth, I was dreaming about David Morrissey playing
Macbeth! I want to do it properly and I want to do it young, so I
stopped watching other people’s Macbeths.’ Not your ‘X-Men’ co-star Patrick Stewart’s? ‘I
didn’t go; I don’t want it in my head. I did see it on YouTube. A
couple of times I thought: I don’t know what the *!@% I’m going to do
with that line, I’ll have a look at how other people do it, and they
don’t know what they’re doing either! It will be interesting when Sir
Ian McKellen and Patrick and I are all working on “X-Men”. We might have
a Macbeth-off. I might just go, “My Macbeth’s better than your Macbeth…
And your Macbeth: hmm, not so sure.”’ How’s your state of mind right now? ‘When
you’re 14 and playing on your mate’s computer and you stay up with the
sound off so that his mum and dad don’t know and then you go to school
like zombies: it’s kind of like that.’
Feb 19 13 1:40 PM
‘So Macbeth knows what it is to kill: he’s killed hundreds of
times. But when he goes in to kill Duncan, he hears voices. Not voices
in his head: this is 1044, this is magic, the *%%*#+* occult. This is
Satan saying “You’re *%%*#+* mine now”. He hears this voice saying “You
will never sleep again. You will never ever sleep again you have
murdered sleep, you have killed sleep”. And he goes “Holy ##%!!” and is
understandably freaked out by that. When he come out his wife goes, “Why
have you still got the knives? You’re meant to leave them in the
*%%*#+* room so that when everybody finds Duncan’s dead body they will
say it was his own people, his own guards, his own servants that did it!
You’ve got to go and put them back.” And Macbeth says, “I’m not putting
them back, I’m *%%*#+* terrified!” She goes, “Right, I’ll go and do it,
then.” She goes back in, she stabs Duncan to get blood on the knives
and then puts them on the body. ‘Anyway, next day comes along and
Macduff finds Duncan’s body and says to Macbeth, “Go in and see, it’s
*%%*#+* horrible!” And I have a look and I see what my wife has done. I
stabbed him in the heart, I killed him. But she’s ripped him open. And
it’s like these gashed stabs, as they are described; it’s not a bullet
to the head. This is a world in which to kill somebody is a tactile
thing. It’s as tactile as making love. Because you have to get inside
somebody and what happens when you put a knife in somebody enough times?
Do you stop? Or do you [makes a stabbing action] keep going like that?
When you really get into unmaking nature, let’s see what’s inside you!
That’s why it was so important to me not to go, “Right: Macduff and
Macbeth square up at the end with a couple of machine guns.” It’s got to
be about the fact that I am physically unmaking God’s work.
Feb 19 13 5:29 PM
Feb 20 13 11:25 PM
Feb 22 13 7:02 AM
He starred in the action movie Wanted opposite Angelina Jolie, played a telepathic superhero in X-Men: First Class and won the heart of Keira Knightley in Atonement.
But as he prepares to face theatre critics tonight, James McAvoy said playing Macbeth was tearing him apart.
“It’s like being mentally ill and being beaten up a lot. This is undoubtedly the hardest part I’ve ever played,” said McAvoy, 33, of the production in which he is constantly running, fighting and proving himself the bloodied virile soldier.
“I always wanted it to be a physical production because it’s a play that talks about killing people and killing people with your hands. It just so happened that the director Jamie Lloyd seemed to want to go for that with gusto. But be careful what you wish for. Now I’m falling to pieces.”
Lloyd’s version is set in a post-apocalyptic world of environmental disaster half a century in the future, with a dark atmosphere of godless superstition. McAvoy and Claire Foy, 28, who plays Lady Macbeth, are much younger than many of the actors who have tackled the roles — including Ian McKellen, Judi Dench and Patrick Stewart — and McAvoy said their youth “just increases the tragedy of the situation”.
Shakespeare suggests that Lady Macbeth has recently lost a baby and McAvoy sees the notion of “a big hole in their lives” as the fire that drives the drama. “The tragedy of their childlessness is really relevant. They’re at an age where they should have been making babies,” he said. Foy, who starred in Upstairs Downstairs, said: “I think it does add to the vibrancy of the production that we’re younger. He’s a brave warrior. I’m supposed to be a fertile young woman. But we end up throwing our entire lives away.”The play is the first by Trafalgar Transformed, a partnership between director Lloyd and theatre owner Howard Panter. It runs at the Trafalgar Studios until April 27. Day seats cost £10. www.macbethwestend.comhttp://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/playing-macbeth-is-my-toughest-role-yet-says-action-hero-james-mcavoy-8506928.html
Feb 22 13 11:42 AM
We've arrived ready for opening night! We'll be tweeting as our guests begin to arrive at #TrafTransformedpic.twitter.com/r1J8PIbU74
Wishing the cast of @MacbethWestEnd @trafstudios every success with their opening night!
First arrival at #Traftransformed tonight is @mfhornepic.twitter.com/bt9tl5ms3e
Jason Flemyng is also attending this evening. #TrafTransformedpic.twitter.com/WU6CVtUK51
Lovely to see @Allenleech here tonight! #TrafTransformedpic.twitter.com/Ha3TkaqsLC
Next to arrive here at #TrafTransformed is the wonderful Rafe Spall!pic.twitter.com/bFkHVNec2f
Presenting our director @lloydjamie #TrafTransformedpic.twitter.com/l6d1WnzhEJ
Feb 22 13 1:11 PM
And now we welcome @hughbon to this evenings performance #TrafTransformed pic.twitter.com/gY9DPw2kq7
Next to arrive at #TrafTransformed is @stephenmerchant pic.twitter.com/6Qrr3Vndar
And now we bring you Toby Jones! #TrafTransformed pic.twitter.com/JC7YoiaP3R
Looking beautiful on our red carpet - it's @Beverleyknight #TrafTransformed pic.twitter.com/ttQl5bcYVK
Tamsin Greig has just arrived at #TrafTransformed pic.twitter.com/zjoqMu8eoX
Feb 22 13 1:51 PM
Feb 22 13 1:55 PM
Feb 22 13 3:53 PM
One of the best productions I have seen on any stage anywhere @macbethwestend #macbethwestend. Gory intense, perfect. pic.twitter.com/DvD4H0fILE
Saw Jamie lloyd's #macbeth, it was terrific, I was gripped, hope they get the audience's they're after
ETA - (Guardian "Arts correspondent") Since it is sold out, it looks like it did.
McAvoy smashed it out of the park. Costumes,design,performances + direction bang on.
*this can be used as a Broadsheet review™*
Feb 22 13 7:20 PM
The X-Men actor impresses with a no-holds-barred performance set in a
futuristic Scottish dystopia that won't please Alex Salmond
You could say that he is always the man of action even when laying
bare – in incisive and pungently Scots-accented verse-speaking – the
knotty nuances of his innermost fears and torments. And the actor makes
that seem perfectly natural in a gripping, no-holds-barred performance
that will impress fans of his work in the X-Men movies and unlock for youthful newcomers to Shakespeare some of the poetic and psychological riches of the play.
Lloyd's production is set in the near future in a dystopian, separatist
version of Scotland that is not calculated to gladden the heart of Alex
Salmond. Our hero is initially a kind of Mad Mac figure in a world
that, ravaged by bankruptcy and climate change, seems to have reverted
to a bloody primitive tribalism.
This show launches the new
Trafalgar Transformed season for which the main Studio 1 space has been
reconfigured by Soutra Gilmour. In-yer-face immediacy has never hitherto
been the strength of this venue. But in addition to pushing the stage
out over the first few rows, her spectacularly grungy in-the-round
design for Macbeth places some seventy seats onstage (pac-a-mac ponchos
recommended) and with all the frazzled lightning and crash-bang-wallop
effects, it's as though you are being pulled into a nation's nervous
system as it goes haywire.
For my taste, the production is a wee
bit over-the-top but there are sequences where it achieves an
extraordinary thematic penetration. Macbeth is a protagonist who, in
killing a king, commits a slow spiritual suicide. The idea that his
world contracts into a kind of hellish solipsism is thrillingly conveyed
here when, for their second encounter, the gas-masked witches pop up
through trap-doors in his palace and McAvoy, desperately ladling their
brew into himself, hawks up the voices of the apparitions from his own
guts until the endless line of Banquo's heirs emerge through the various
doors in proliferation of nightmare replicas of the weird sisters. It's
as if the predictions have become an infernally literal self-fulfilling
We are also offered a haunting portrait of a marriage.
When he returns from from the war, Macbeth places his hand on his wife's
stomach as if to feel for a heartbeat and Claire Foy's lean, stern Lady
Macbeth signals a desolate hinterland of miscarriages in her brief
stricken look askance. Simon Russell Beale once said that the hero's
murder of Duncan is a gesture of love to his spouse to make amends for
the death of their baby and, while not going so far, McAvoy and Foy
powerfully suggest that their joint regicidal project is a hideously
doomed and eroticised groping for compensatory intimacy by a childless
The staging does not perhaps allow the leading actor to
explore deeply enough the way that Macbeth becomes the burnt-out
observer of his own growing inability to feel. But McAvoy's Thane shows a
taste for black humour from the outset and an inclination to retreat
into defensively sardonic laughter. Here, in the climactic face-off with
Macduff (played by Jamie Ballard in an eventual ecstasy of principled
Woad Rage), his beyond-it-all husky chuckling finely traces the stages
by which Macbeth comes to the near-suicidal recognition that the cosmic
joke is on him.
It's a play that makes you chary of forecast but
I'd say that this production bodes well for Jamie Lloyd's season at this
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