‘Vaulting ambition’ was needed to stage Warminster School’s production of The Scottish Play,  and speaking to several members of the audience after the performance, that ambition has paid off royally.

In the opening scene, the stage was stripped bare and littered with grey grotesque shapes. The only other piece of set decoration were two swathes of silky white fabric which were used to great effect throughout the play. This was Shakespeare as he should be performed: with utter reliance on, to quote Ms Griffiths, the director, the majesty of the language. The set did not detract from the beauty of the text, containing words and phrases that we still use today.

The idea of using three Macbeths and three Lady Macbeths may have seemed confusing, but this worked smoothly. Harry Langhorn opened the play full of triumph and swagger on that foul and fair a day. Max Trusler was superb in the famous ‘dagger soliloquy’ and his trust in his fellow actors, as they held him aloft, was extraordinary. Ryan Lee completed the trio as a frantic Macbeth, whose world is rapidly collapsing around him.

The three Lady Macbeths were equally powerful. Vittoria Ferrario started the plotting, wearing a blue cape to reflect her cool, calm mind. We then moved on to Kathryn Rush as a powerful, dangerous Lady Macbeth in her blood-red cloak. Finally, Sophia Cheung’s Lady Macbeth, in her regal, purple cloak, commits suicide, as the discordant notes of her violin fade away. The white fabric is symbolically discarded and the stage is left bare.

There were so many excellent performances but I would like to mention James Caldwell as a noble and imperious Macduff. The clever use of the fabric wrapped around Macbeth’s body is unraveled, as Macbeth’s life continues to unravel by a triumphant Macduff.

I found the scene with Mabel Taylor as Macduff’s daughter and Maisie Fogg as Lady Macduff, very touching. Shelby Pickands as the murderer was a revelation. She had just the right amount of stealth and menace in her performance. Elspeth Todd was a superb Banquo and her violent death was truly shocking: the audience’s reaction was one of horror! Anneka Hart’s subtle stage presence should not go unremarked. She was in many of the scenes and retained a quiet dignity throughout her role in the play. I thought the use of the whole of the auditorium was most effective. The witches’ torches and whispering voices were excellent pieces of stagecraft.

Our thanks go to the entire cast and crew but especially to Ms Griffiths, Ms Vickers and Mr Bignall, for their hard work, daring and commitment to the production. In April 2016, it will be the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death so we will be seeing more performances of the Bard’s work at Warminster School in the Spring term.

Susie Parrack, English Teacher