Gangland clans

10th March 1995 at 00:00
After Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, Bolton Octagon now has Lawrence Till's Macbeth.

Other reference-points for his adventurous production are also cinematic: The Long Good Friday; The Krays; A Clockwork Orange. Just as witches inspired fear and prurience in equal measure, so nowadays we are similarly fascinated by villains and we get the imagery associated with this twilight world: underground carparks, iron gratings, dirty water. The text is similarly stripped-down: witches' rituals are seen as the behaviour of the nasty blokes who protect the gangland "Kings" from each other. Kevin Walton as a witchlord is convincingly brutal in this respect.

The verse-speaking is low-key, especially from Gary Webster's Macbeth. Occasionally the cast reject Shakespeare's language for their own - or Brecht's - the final song from BB's Arturo Ui is included so as to further emphasise the directorial line. We also get a pill-popping Lady Macbeth (Lucy Robinson); a coke-sniffing-induced ghost; a fork-lifted Macbeth, all of varying effectiveness, and just a little self-indulgent.

To March 18. Tickets: 01204 520661.

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