Preview MACBETH Liverpool Shakespeare Festival; in Association With

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Byline: by Catherine Jones

IT SEEMS odd, yet strangely right, for Shakespeare's battle of good and evil to be fought out in a church.

And it gives extra meat to the supernatural, wraith-like witches to prowl the gloom of a disused cemetery.

Added to which, there are no theatrical superstitions about muttering the name 'Macbeth' on hallowed ground.

Unfortunately, for the first half of this inaugural Liverpool Shakespeare Festival performance, it is more a case of Mac-deaf.

Lodestar, the theatre group behind the festival, has chosen to stage it in the most impressive building in the city - Liverpool Cathedral.

Alas, the soaring ceiling plays havoc with the acoustics meaning anything above a whisper echoes horribly and much of the dialogue is conseguently disastrously distorted.

It's frustrating, and it's a shame, as this Macbeth has much to recommend it.

Lodestar's love of storytelling is evident in the stark but stylish staging and the straightforward yet often powerful performances.

Sticky, dark blood oozes from dagger-clutching hands, Banguo's ghost springs niftily from the middle of the dinner table, and lain Ormsby-Knox's porter takes the play's panto-like light relief off the 'stage' and far into the audience sitting in the cathedral's well. …