Macbeth Kills The Duchess

Aug 18 2017 | By More

★★★★☆ Tragic comedy

theSpace @ Niddry St Lower (Venue 9): Monday 14 – Saturday 26 August 2017
Review by Sarah Moyes

A plot to murder a member of the royal family takes centre stage in the debut run of the tragic comedy Macbeth kills The Duchess.

Deep below an English manor house, a young woman dressed as Shakespeare’s tragic hero Macbeth and her friends hatch a plot to commit the most shocking crime in modern British history – the murder of a member of the British royal family.

Macbeth (Sally Mac) silences Harry (Sasha Briggs). Pic Erica Belton

This brand new piece of writing comes from experienced director and fringe performer Charlie Ralph, a graduate of the Traverse Theatre writing programme who founded the company BIGHEAD to bring new student writing to the Fringe.

It’s hard to imagine that a shocking subject could be so comical, but the script is clever and witty, and instead of dwelling on the crime ahead, you are instantly drawn to the compelling characters in front of you.

Sally Mac and Michael Black are a hilarious paring as Macbeth and Horatio, a comedy double act filled with warmth and silliness and Macbeth tries to live up to her hero while Horatio will do anything to please the girl they love.


They’re joined in the plot by Sasha Briggs as Harry and Henry Coldstream as Jack, two young rebels who want a revolution but don’t want to go down for the crime. The cast is completed by En Thompson as Charlotte, a maid of the manor who it turns out has allowed several groups to unsuccessfully murder the Duchess, played by Georgie Rodgers, since starting her job.

The staging at theSpace is very simple. The show is set in two corridors of horizontal white light leaving the actors with nothing to hide behind. Luckily, the strong cast can very much hold their own on the stage and don’t need a fancy set to carry them along.

The play has lots of Shakespeare references in it, but that doesn’t mean you need to know the playwright’s work to enjoy the show. In fact, it’s woven into the script in such a way that even those without any prior knowledge of Shakespeare you can enjoy the references and maybe even learn something too.

Given the way the world is right now, the themes in Macbeth kills The Duchess are ones we can all understand. A clever hour of comedy, one that will leave you wondering how far you would go for your own revolution.

Running time: 1 hour (no interval)
theSpace @ Niddry St, Niddry Street, EH1 1TH (Venue 9)
Monday 14 – Saturday 26 August 2017
Daily at 1.10pm (not Sun 20)
Book tickets on the Fringe website:
Production FaceBook page: @MacbethKills
Production company Twitter: @BIGHEADtheatre


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