Macbeth at the HMS Victory Starboard Arena, Historic Dockyard

Macbeth will be performed by the Royal Navy Theatre Association
Macbeth will be performed by the Royal Navy Theatre Association
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The story of Macbeth and his downfall is well known to anyone who has studied GCSE English, but the Royal Navy Theatre Association is giving the Scottish play a nautical twist.

The Starboard Arena outside the HMS Victory will be an ideal backdrop to the action, which is set in 1805 for this production.

We have tried to keep the character of the play by perfoming the original Shakespearan language but we have brought the navy point of view to it

Lorinda Laing

Macbeth is a senior ranking naval officer who sees the opportunity to seize power when King Duncan pays him and his wife a visit.

The performance will take place from Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30pm before transferring to Stratford-upon-Avon on July 25.

Lorinda Laing, the show’s producer, says: ‘We have tried to keep the character of the play by perfoming the original Shakespearan language but we have brought the navy point of view to it.’

She gives examples. ‘At the end, it is prophesised that Macbeth cannot die unless Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. In the original it is the English soldiers camoflauged as trees that sees this come true. In our production Birnam Wood is a ship that docks in Dunsinane.’

The witches are also given a makeover. ‘They are grave diggers, Victorian body snatcher types who take the dead bodies off the stage.

‘There are no blackouts in open air theatre so actors walking off when their characters have died ruins the illusion.’

The cast, which is a mix of civilians and naval personnel from HMS Collingwood, Sultan and Excellent, have been getting stuck into rehearsals.

‘Rehearsing the sword fight scenes has been lots of fun. Our fight master Chris Blatch-Gainey has done choreography for The Princess Bride and the Lord of the Rings trilogy so we have been very lucky.’

Lorinda also plays the ill-fated Lady Macduff.

‘Thankfully I am only in one scene as producing is enough work to keep me going, but it is definitely a dramatic part!’

Tickets: £10, call (023) 9283 9766 to buy tickets.