Holden Street Theatres
Until 25 Feb 2017

Review by Brian Godfrey

Ahh! The Zombie Apocalypse! Where would entertainment today be without it? There’s the classic George A Romero movies; the highly popular television series “The Walking Dead” and “Fear The Walking Dead”; modern epics(?) such as “Pride And Prejudice And Zombies” (I kid you not – just ask Matt Smith!); and now the Undead have invaded the stage with such things as John Heimbuch’s “William Shakespeare’s Land Of The Dead” (about the little known 1599 Zombie Plague) and Australian playwright David Mence’s “Macbeth Re-arisen”.

“Macbeth Re-arisen” takes place immediately from where “Macbeth” ended, with the famous Three Witches scene acting as a sort of ‘Previously On’ intro. The main gist of the plot is that Macbeth and his good lady wife, through supernatural help, rise once more; this time as Zombies. Using a lot of Shakespeare’s text (and not just from “Macbeth”), sprinkled with classical Greek drama, and his own iambic pentameter, Mence’s play is unique and full of comic potential. Unfortunately, it is not necessarily realized in this production.

Director Claire Glenn gives us some great visuals but seems to have ignored teaching most of the young cast stage technique and understanding of the dialogue. In the first scene, the Three Witches are basically unintelligible because of their shouting and screeching. The dialogue from most of the rest of the cast is delivered at such a break-neck speed that one is trying to catch one’s breath. Remember gang, you have an hour to do the show, not fifteen minutes!

Note that I have said most of the cast: there are some good notable exceptions. Jenna Bezuidenhout as Lady Ross and Ben Cook as Cripple No-Toes both show good acting and delivery skills. But the stand-out is Finn Caulfield as the main man Zombie himself, Macbeth. Caulfield gives a strong, almost Shakespearian performance and has maturity in both his voice and physicality that actually makes one sit up and pay attention.

Not a bad effort – at least it keeps the Undead off the streets.

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5)