Melbourne’s Macdaddy of Murder Brutalises the Bard

If you think that this title is overdone – see the film.
Went to see the new Melbourne production of Macbeth on Monday night. I thought it might be interesting to see a Melbourne version. All I knew was that it was set in Melbourne’s gangland and kept the Shakespearean dialogue. I thought that it started out ok. A bit brutal, but nothing outrageous. However… it did get worse.
The Cawdor pub in a Melbourne lane was amusing, The Cumberland Hotel, a bit try hard, but Dunsinane as a Melbourne home in a leafy suburb? Then I wasn’t prepared for Gary Sweet as the king, or Mick Molloy as one of the body guards, but the best piece of miscasting was Kim Gyngell as Lady Macbeth’s physician. Unfortunately, by that stage the audience howled.
Highlight of the film – Macduff and Cumberland come barging through the gates of Dunsinane in a logging truck – with Birnam Timber written on the side!
A close second – Lady Macbeth dying in a bath of blood with designer cuts on her wrists artfully exposing one nipple.
Eugh! moment – Macbeth has an orgy with the three nubile witches, one of whom keeps hissing, in his living room, after drinking their potion, which they’ve cooked up on his dining table. He licks his lips after the drink and says something like ‘yum’ and then proceeds to have sex with all three of them. When we first meet the witches they’re in a cemetary hacking apart statues and spraying red paint into their eyes (and hissing). They’re dressed in school uniforms!
Macbeth and his lovely wife are also heavy drug users. Our first memorable moment with her is a shot of her lying in a bath (she takes a lot of baths!) stoned out of her skull and nearly dead.
Well, it was interesting and original, though not necessarily in a useful way. some of the violence is too much, and yes, I do know that Macbeth is a violent play, but watching Mick Molloy garrotte Macduff’s wife while groaning sexually was a bit too much.
Avoid this if you like the play, watch it if you like violent films with drugs and sex thrown in for good measure.