Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Paper Cinema have built up a following in Edinburgh over the years. They have presented their work at the Forest Fringe, Summerhall and at the Traverse Theatre during the Manipulate Festival. This year they are back during the Fringe and at the Pleasance Dome, to perform their own version of the Shakespeare classic Macbeth.

The story is a familiar one, but the format in which it is being brought to life is very atypical and different. The Paper Cinema make use of paper cut outs, video projections, music and sound effects to tell their stories. Five performers sit on the stage. Next to them are a mass of paper illustrations, video cameras, objects and musical instruments. The stage absolutely is cluttered, but to the back is a large screen. On this screen the story of Macbeth is presented. The performers hold up paper cut out characters and objects in front of the video cameras. They move and manipulate these characters to give them life. It is live animation puppetry and novel in its approach. The miniature cut outs are projected onto the large screen and are given a new existence as gigantic heroes, witches and villains. The manipulation of the cut outs allows the performers to play with scale and perspective. This makes the show feel like an epic piece of silent cinema and a completely new and exciting way to experience Shakespeare. The soundtrack is also played live where folk music and eerie soundscapes are created to give the supernatural elements of the story an added edge.

There is a lot happening on the stage so at times it can be difficult to follow. Your eyes can dart back and forth from the screen to the performers. It is an exciting experience watching them work, but this at times distracts from the story. Thankfully Macbeth is a well known play so plot points are not missed. The Paper Cinema’s Macbeth is a co-production with Battersea Arts Centre and shows how different and brilliant visual theatre can be.