A powerhouse cast joins international star Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad) and director Simon Phillips in a new Melbourne Theatre Company production of Macbeth, Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of ambition, betrayal and murder. Phillips’ fearsome reinterpretation completes a trilogy of unforgettable Shakespearean productions for MTC, following his highly acclaimed productions of Richard III and Hamlet.
In the aftermath of a bloody battle, amongst the desecrated ruins of war, Macbeth and Banquo meet a group of unearthly witches who predict a tale of unimaginable greatness for them. When the prophecy starts to come true, Macbeth dares to imagine… and thus begins the reign of Shakespeare’s most infamous tyrant.
Consumed by ambition and drunk with power, Macbeth embarks on a ruthless campaign to murder his king and take the throne for himself. But, in his attempt to cover his tracks and second-guess his rivals, Macbeth sinks deeper and deeper into horror and madness.
In addition to Courtney, Phillips has assembled a stellar cast including Geraldine Hakewill (Wanted) who takes on the role of Lady Macbeth, the mastermind behind the scheming couple’s rise to power, alongside esteemed actors Rodney Afif (Hotel Mumbai), Shareena Clanton (Wentworth) Kamil Ellis (Nowhere Boys), Tom Hobbs (Winners & Losers), Kevin Hofbauer (Offspring), Khisraw Jones-Shukoor (A Little Resistance), Robert Menzies (The Weir), Jane Montgomery Griffiths (Wit), Dan Spielman (The Code), Dylan Watson (Jumpy) and Lachlan Woods (Molly).
“I’m so delighted to be returning to the Company with a Shakespeare – my greatest theatrical passion,” says Simon Phillips. “This is probably his most visceral play – it operates on the head and the heart in equal measure, inviting the audience into the irrational world of its anti-hero.”
“Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is so superbly elucidated and conceived, and the gender politics that go on are totally contemporary. They defy time, they’re so strongly drawn. I’m particularly excited to work with Jai and Geraldine – and indeed all these terrific actors– to bring these seminal roles to life. The results will hopefully be compelling, chilling and spasmodically heart-rending.’
Simon Phillips was MTC’s Artistic Director from 2000 – 2011. Over his 30 year history with the Company he has directed an impressive number of productions, with his recent MTC credits including: North by Northwest, Pennsylvania Avenue, The Importance of Being Earnest, Hamlet, Songs for Nobodies, Richard III, The Drowsy Chaperone and August: Osage County.
In 2015 Simon directed the award-winning Australian musical Ladies in Black for Queensland Theatre, which went on to have a highly successful season with MTC in 2016, followed by a commercial tour in 2017. Over his illustrious career Simon has also worked for many other arts organisations nationally and internationally including the State Theatre Company of South Australia, where he was Artistic Director from 1990 – 1993.
On the commercial stage, his productions include the 2016 Australian tour of The Beast, as well as Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Musical; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies, and Eat Pray Laugh – Barry Humphries’ farewell tour, all of which have had various international seasons. Simon has won seven Green Room Awards and five Helpmann Awards.
Director: Simon Phillips Featuring: Jai Courtney, Geraldine Hakewill, Rodney Afif, Shareena Clanton, Kamil Ellis, Tom Hobbs, Kevin Hofbauer, Robert Menzies, Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Dan Spielman, Dylan Watson, Lachlan Woods Set Designer: Shaun Gurton Costume Designer: Esther Marie Hayes Lighting Designer: Nick Schlieper Composer: Ian McDonald Voice Coach: Leith McPherson Associate Director: Dean Bryant
The Sumner – Southbank Theatre, Southbank Boulevard, Southbank
Season: 9 June – 15 July 2017
Information and Bookings: www.mtc.com.au
Image: Jai Courtney as Macbeth – courtesy of MTC