Review – Macbeth – Derby Theatre

This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published by Exeunt Magazine on 7 March 2020.

what do kites symbolise?

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‘The kite symbolizes the quest for freedom in you’ – okay, well, that can’t be it. It’s been a while since I did an essay on Macbeth but I’m reasonably sure that the quest for freedom isn’t one of the themes.

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‘Traditionally, kites symbolize both prophecy and fate’ – okay yeah, that’s probably it. Huh. I didn’t know that about kites.

There’s a meat hook in this version of Macbeth.

There are also some of those translucent plastic curtains that hang down in strips, like you get in a butcher’s shop.

(“Like you get in Co-op,” says my partner, a former Co-op employee.)

The plastic curtains aren’t there all the time – sometimes a big rusty metal screen with a tiny door and tiny windows comes down in front of them. I don’t know what slaughterhouses look like. Maybe they have metal walls and tiny doors and tiny windows.

When Lady Macduff and her child get killed, they get taken behind the Co-op curtains and someone squeezes a bottle of fake blood at the plastic. It comes out in a thin, paint-y, ketchup-y squirt.

What else?

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Review – What Fatima Did… – Derby Theatre

It’s the start of a new school year, and a group of friends take the mick out of each other as they wait for their class to start. They’re also waiting on Fatima. They take bets on when she’ll finally arrive. We don’t see her when she does. We never see her, although we hear plenty about her – because when she comes back to school after the holidays, Fatima has decided, for the first time and without warning, to start wearing the hijab.

What Fatima Did… is the second show I’ve seen at Derby Theatre in the space of a few weeks which is rammed with teenagers and, putting aside the fact that it’s making me feel old, I just want to give some space here to celebrate the absolute bloody triumph of a team who seem to know who they want to get in the door and exactly how to do it. I’ve felt this at every in-house show at Derby Theatre since I moved back last February – whenever I settle into my seat and do a quick scan around, the auditorium always seems to be full of the people who will get the most out of that show, if you judge that by the audible, tangible, laughs-and-gasps engagement throughout the evening. Derby Theatre gets its audiences.

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Review – Noughts & Crosses – Derby Theatre

This review by Emily Holyoake was originally published by Exeunt Magazine on 8 February 2019.

In Rosa, the episode Malorie Blackman wrote for last year’s series of Doctor Who, the TARDIS lands in 1950s Alabama at the height of racial segregation. Not long into the episode, one of the Doctor’s friends, Ryan, who is black, notices a white woman has dropped her glove, and tries to return it to her. The woman’s husband slaps him.

I think I went into Pilot Theatre’s production of Noughts & Crosses expecting a slap – that sudden shock of something hurtful, embarrassing, and true. But this version of Noughts & Crosses doesn’t slap you, it just pulls you deeper and deeper, wrapping you up in history and the present and how things are supposed to be.

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