Macbeth Muet is a bloody mess, but it’s a bloody good mess. La Fille Du Laitier has brought their silent adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth to the Toronto Fringe Festival, and it’s a fun, wacky, smart sight to see.
With a cast of only two, most often in character as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, Macbeth Muet plays with the traditional narrative of the tragedy, but keeps the guts, delirium, and death. Macbeth (played by Jérémie Francoeur) and Lady Macbeth (played by Clara Prévost) also grace the stage as Banquo, Banquo’s son, Macduff, Lady Macduff and the Three Witches.
In place of speech, Macbeth Muet story-tells with an effective and versatile sound design. The shape-shifting medley of sound effects and music is wonderfully dramatic. It’s occasionally somber and spooky, often playful and cheeky, and gives an inventive voice to this mute performance. The comprehensive sound design guides the show and gives the narrative a structure that, without spoken words, is still easy to follow. Never have I ever seen a production of Macbeth wherein Banquo and his son bond to the smooth musings of Just the Two of Us — until now.
The small-but-mighty cast maintained an excellent energy throughout the performance. They had natural chemistry — I really believed them to be man and wife, king and queen — and executed several tightly choreographed fight scenes with ease. The performance was highly physical, and though the cast didn’t speak, they certainly roared with their movements. They slammed and thrashed their bodies on stage, drumming their limbs as though they were cymbals. As an added bonus, the use of shadows gave their physicality an even greater life.
On the whole, Macbeth Muet is a lively, liberated rendition of Shakespeare’s tragedy. There’s charming, devilish puppetry, brutally cracked (or dare I say, murdered) eggs, and violent splashes of faux-blood. A performance that looks like it was equally fun (and tragically messy) to create, it was a joy to see played out on stage.
- Macbeth Muet plays at the Tarragon Mainspace. (30 Bridgman Ave.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- This venue is barrier-free. The designated accessible seating is in the middle of the auditorium.
- Thursday July 6th, 06:30 pm
- Saturday July 8th, 07:00 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 10:30 pm
- Tuesday July 11th, 01:15 pm
- Thursday July 13th, 09:45 pm
- Friday July 14th, 02:30 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 12:30 pm
Photo of Jérémie Francoeur by Stéphanie Godin