Song of the Goat: Macbeth

Total Theatre / Mim King

Amidst the very misty, thick stage smoke I can just about find a seat. Before Song of the Goat’s Macbeth commences, director Grzegorz Bral addresses us with the invitation to ‘watch it with your ears’. Lights dim and when vision permits we see a semi-circle of performers bathed in muted half light, amber toned. Half seen, all heard. What follows is charged, potent, rawly tender, yet refined too in its anger and wailing grief.

Song of the Goat’s hypnotic and mesmerising retelling of Macbeth takes us in and out of focus, plunging together haunting polyphonic Corsican folk songs, chanting and poetry, pinned together by movement inspired by martial arts training – light-footed, swirling, turning, with much manipulation of wooden staffs, sticks, swords and canes that slice and swipe through the thickened air. A set of adjustable panels form and reform, and are turned, lifted and stacked by the performers at varying heights. There is candlelight, and the rich solo musician accompaniment of Rafal Habel’s kayagum, a Korean string instrument vibrant with its tremulous sound.

There are changes of height and pitch, pauses and poised moments, tensions raised through the voice, and through a conspiracy of rhythmic words, through rousing and emotive song, we are plunged into this emotive rhapsody on the theme of Macbeth.

After a short time you can only surrender up that which you know of the story and give yourself over to the pure, tender sound that transports you into the heart of the story – into its tragedy and all its fury. There’s a magic that happens within this alchemy of voice, movement and music. Just accept it, and see it with your ears, feel it in your fibres; the vision is there, swirling around in your marrow.