The Handlebards’ Macbeth Spectacular Delights the Garden Theatre
“My hands are of your colour, but I shame to wear a heart so white.”
After eighteen months of stay at home orders, Zoom events and social distancing, The Reader welcomed audiences back to the Garden Theatre at the Mansion House to enjoy a rousing take on Macbeth from touring theatre troupe, The Handlebards.
Despite the skies threatening thunder and rain showers, sunbeams bounced off the all-female cast as they burst onto the stage with their signature offbeat energy.
Before revellers had even unpacked their picnics, eruptions of belly laughter couldn’t be contained - a sound that continued to rattle around the garden until the final bow.
Luckily, the weather held off for the entire evening as we were treated to an off the wall performance of the Scottish play. From T-Bird inspired leather jackets to Banquo’s ghost running amok amongst the picnic blankets, this was Shakespeare as we’d never seen it before.
Actors Kat Perkins, Jenny Smith and Natalie Simone seamlessly transitioned between a range of different characters and mesmerised us as they broke out into song and dance (a particular rap sequence being a firm crowd favourite!).
Midway through the show, a spirited Jenny ran around, weaving between blankets and deck chairs to ask if anyone had any refreshments to share. After acquiring some top notch Marks and Spencer’s wine, she barrelled up to the stage only to have Kat and Natalie greet her with disappointed faces and ask, with impeccable comic timing, ‘But is it organic?’.
We weren’t surprised that they needed something to keep them going! The stamina they displayed when coordinating endless costume changes and the precision evoked as they adopted different accents proved that The Handlebards are in a league of their own. Not only are they intent on quietly saving the planet as they cycle to and from every performance, they are reminding audiences of the power of literature and the sense of togetherness live theatre can bring.
This eclectic take on Macbeth is the perfect light-hearted, laughter inducing antidote that the world needs right now.
As tickets were released, Anna Farrell, Head of Calderstones Programme, said: “After such a long time we're delighted to get back on track with The Reader’s outdoor theatre programme. At The Reader we think Shakespeare is for everyone, and we've no doubt The Handlebards will delight our Liverpool audiences once more.”
We can confirm that delight was witnessed everywhere. The energy was electric and the joy was palpable as the show was enjoyed by audience members both young and old.
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