Adelaide Fringe – Macbeth’s Witches – The Garage International at NACC

Every now and again, the Adelaide Fringe provides something so unusual and so strange that it is almost impossible to review. Well, my new polarising bench-mark is Macbeth’s Witches, created and largely performed by the indomitable Shakti, who is joined by members of her VasantaMala Dance Company.

The thing about this show, which purports to demonstrate the world view of Macbeth’s trio of witches and their evil leader Hecate, is that I understand where it was trying to go, and at some times it almost works – the mesmerising motion of three supernatural beings and their leader controlling the elements, the sense of impartiality to the fate of the humans are all unique and plausible interpretations of ‘the Scottish play’… but it just doesn’t quite get there.

At some points, I think I nearly drank the KoolAid – or maybe my senses were just too assaulted by the loud music and the soporific, hypnotic motions of the dance troupe who were effectively doing a combination of Tae Bo and yoga moves , albeit not overly impressively, and certainly not in sync – enough to almost enjoy the show. In any event, despite myself I found myself almost literally sucked in by parts of the performance. But the truth of it is that the show was just too exaggerated, too over the top and too darn strange to truly work, and I found myself having to hide a snigger as Shakti did her best hammed up version of Lady Macbeth and gyrated across the stage in various dominatrix-style outfits.

I warn you that this show is not for the faint-hearted. Indeed, from the moment that Shakti strode out in a lurid skintight Lycra dress that could only have been bought from a sex shop, wearing stripper shoes and bearing a whip, I felt as though I had fallen down a wormhole into a Phuket ping pong show.  And although I hate to sound prudish – Shakti’s ‘costume’ (which consisted of mere strips of material, not overly discriminately placed) in the final scene left very little to the imagination and, dare I say it, was a little frightening.

I emerged from the performance feeling smutty and voyeuristic, like I had accidentally crashed the masked ball in Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman’s soft pornographic movie ‘Eyes Wide Shut’. But if this is your cup of tea, then Macbeth’s Witches is worth a look. Otherwise it might be best to pick something else.




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