Shakespeare in an office? Now I don’t claim to be a fan of the infamous playwright, but Entita theatre company’s inspired version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth combines physical theatre with comedy to explore man’s obsession with money and power in an everyday office. Matt is keen to be promoted at work, but will his crush Beth persuade him to speed his way to the top? Fall to the Top uses performer’s bodies and suitcases to effectively create and move from scene to scene.
The initial office scene was a strong opening to the performance, with the actor becoming a hierarchy of bustling office workers. Sandeep Malhi effectively became office furniture, paving the way for Ben Langley’s entrance as the smarmy Duncan. He epitomises the play’s message by waltzing up the office chain of bodies.
Co-directors Jamie Wood and Katharine Hardman’s decision to recreate the character of Macbeth paid off. Ben Ridge’s bumbling character of Matt caused a lot of laughs with his geeky exchanges and love of blue pens, so that when Matt begins to change we genuinely believe him. Although I did think his transformation was a bit fast, and could be something that’s developed more in front of an audience.
A small clan of cleaners flow in and out of the action providing us with amusement by cleaning the office left, right and centre, they even clean an audience member’s head. (What I didn’t realise at the time is that they actually represent the three witches.) It would be exciting to see if their roles could be grown into something bigger, without overpowering the performance (which would be a challenge).
Slotted into the action were bursts of physical action with smooth lines and spinning bodies. The movement went some way to deepening the character’s situation and feelings at key points in time, with indie music playing alongside it. Hardman and Woods avoided the cliché of meaningless movement that can come with the form of the physical theatre. With more time to play with this could turn into something bigger…
Being only 45 minutes long, the preview gives a short snippet of Shakespearian action. The question is what would another 45 bring? Without ruining the ending, you’ll have to go the Edinburgh festival to find out for yourselves. Entita theatre company is a young ensemble of performers to look out for.
Fall to the Top is being performed at Greenside, Studio One from the 13 until the 17 of August, with tickets at just £5. Tickets are available from: http://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/dance-and-physical-theatre/fall-to-the-top