Review Roundup: West End's MACBETH Starring James McAvoy

Paul Taylor of the Independent says: 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 prophecy.

Zoe Craig of the Londonist says: In Jamie Lloyd's post-apocalyptic production, James McAvoy's Macbeth first yomps onto stage with his face dripping in blood. It's a high-octane start for a show seeped in graphic violence and gore. Which is perhaps fine for the computer game generation, bred on a monochrome diet of blood and guts, but if you've been nourished with the slow, screw-tightening subtleties of Shakespeare's finer tragedies, you may find something lacking. The titular hero's noble origins are nowhere to be seen: here, Macbeth starts out as a murderous terrorist. Which ultimately leaves this disappointing production nowhere to go.

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