If the great Bard of Avon taught us anything, it’s that three wyrd sisters toiling over a bubbling cauldron in a North East woods are not to be trusted, and by no means should be employed as facilitators of political power plots. And so begins Barry Donaldson’s new play Lulach, following the next generation of squabbling and power hungry successors of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
The play begins in much the same place where Shakespeare’s miserly tale started – with three meddling sisters basking in a Scotland destined to be continually at war with itself. The gang of three is led by Lauren Hall, the standout of the show, who commands attention wherever she roams on stage.
We’re then introduced to three possible heirs to the throne, should Malcolm III meet an untimely demise (and let’s face it, in this post Game of Thrones world, he will). Lulach is the naive youngest daughter of Macbeth, controlled by Gruach/Lady Macbeth, who seems to have been festering away in her own pool of crazy since we last encountered her. Then there’s Prince Donalbain, the dashing yet scheming prince who only has eyes for power. The prince is played by writer Barry Donaldson who clearly takes great pleasure in his character’s dastardly ways. Last but not least, Fleance Stewart is the only successor with a heart of gold, played brilliantly by local talent Kathryn Hunter. Claims to the throne and plots to overthrow each other ensue, and it seems no one has learnt anything from the bloodshed of the previous generation.
Presented by an ambitious and keen Castlegate Theatre Company, the youngsters tackle themes of great breadth in a rather charming way. As war looms, Lulach and Fleance plea to the audience in a 21st century style election address. However, interest waned when a seemingly unrelated pop song was introduced during the pinnacle fight scene, something which could have been explored much more with lighting and sound, considering an under-utilized bagpipe player and keyboardist were at hand.