Macbeth revisited

It’s interesting to go back and see a good production a second time and see what else you can pick up. It may even be perplexing to see how little you understood the first time that becomes quite obvious the second. I went back to Macbeth last night and soon wondered why I was so puzzled before. For a start, I had simply forgotten that, before the music starts, we see Macbeth arrive on the deserted town square in battledress with his kit bag. One person spots him, then another, until he is mobbed by the joyful crowd. So I realised last night what I hadn’t last week, that Macbeth is a victorious military hero and what we see is his gradual progress from victory to tyranny, from adulation (by a crowd happy to predict his rise to the throne) to detestation (as people abandon their homes and country to flee). And at the end he is mobbed again, this time in fury, by the same crowd. Symmetry, then. Similarly, I hadn’t picked up, last week, that in Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene she is not only trying to use her top hat and magic tricks to out the spot, but is re-enacting, obsessively and repetitively, gestures and exhortations from the time of Duncan’s murder. Symmetry again, reinforcing – along with many other details that registered only yesterday evening - my admiration for the care that went into this production.

There were cameras yesterday. For TV only or DVD, I wonder?