With the danger of sounding incredibly shallow, this has been a really great year for good-looking Macbeths. First we had James McAvoy in Jamie Lloyd’s brutal, modern Trafalgar Studios production, and now we have Joseph Millson in a traditional dress production at Shakespeare’s Globe. Millson was my first serious teenage crush when he played Dr. Sam Morgan in Peak Practice*; he seemed to disappear from television screens afterwards, but it turns out that all along he’s been carving out a successful theatre career.
Millson’s performance is superb, beautifully capturing Macbeth’s doubts as he gives in to ambition and the wishes of his wife, Lady Macbeth (an excellent Samantha Spiro). His final soliloquy was deeply moving, while Spiro’s performance was at times exceptionally chilling. The witch scenes were fresh and memorable, and Banquo’s ghost (Billy Boyd, unrecognisable from his role in The Lord of the Rings) genuinely frightening despite the humour which had been injected into the scene.
The production marks Eve Best’s directorial debut, and I’d definitely like to see more of her efforts. Sadly this is the last Globe play of the year for me, but there’s always next season to look forward to, not to mention the opening of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in a couple of months.
* I am unhappily aware of what this says about my life as a teenager.