Following a sold-out London run, the National Theatre’s epic and visually daring production of Shakespeare’s most intense tragedy, Macbeth, will be touring venues around the UK this autumn and will arrive on the Norwich Theatre Royal stage from October 30 to November 3.
Directed by the National Theatre’s artistic director Rufus Norris, the casting for the UK tour has been announced this week and includes Scottish actor Michael Nardone in the title role with Kirsty Besterman as Lady Macbeth.
Known for productions such as Cabaret, Festen, This House and the feature film London Road, this is Rufus Norris’s first Shakespearean production in 25 years. He has brought the play out of the dark and bloody Scottish Middle Ages and into a post-apocalyptic world of anarchy and uncertainty. Its design by Rae Smith (War Horse, This House) conjures up a war-beaten landscape where society has totally broken down and survival depends on building alliances and brutally repressing opposition. In the ruined aftermath of this bloody civil war, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.
Rufus Norris (left) has said audiences can expect a “dynamic” presentation of the play: “It will be very atmospheric. It will be very clear. It will be quite dark and spooky. This is a very serious and fast moving drama and I hope, I fully intend, that it’s told in a way that feels resonant to the age that we’re living in.”
The 19-strong touring cast features a host of top stage and screen actors. Michael Nardone (right), as Macbeth, recently played Frisky in BBC One’s Emmy Award-winning series The Night Manager. His work on stage includes the Duke of Cornwall in King Lear at the National Theatre directed by Sam Mendes; and the title role in Peribanez at the Young Vic directed by Rufus Norris. On television he has also appeared as Jonas in BBC One’s Rellik; as DCI Whiteside in BBC Scotland’s River City and as Mascius in HBO’s Rome. His film work includes Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Child 44 and Tulip Fever.
Alongside appearances in Genesis Inc. at Hampstead Theatre and They Drink It in The Congo at the Almeida Theatre, Kirsty Besterman (left), who is Lady Macbeth, has played Diana in Tipping the Velvet at the Lyric Hammersmith, and Lady Croom in the UK tour of Arcadia, while on the small screen she has appeared in Father Brown, Silent Witness, and Foyle’s War; and on film in Chicken and An American Nobody in London.
The ensemble also includes Patrick Robinson as Banquo. He appeared at the Theatre Royal in the 2015 UK tour of The Shawshank Redemption and has also acted in many Royal Shakespeare Company productions and was the RSC’s first ever black Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. His other stage credits include War Horse in the West End and Mappa Mundi for the National Theatre, plus Festen (also directed by Rufus Norris); while his TV career has spanned more than two decades during which Patrick has probably been most recognisable as staff nurse-turned-consultant Martin ‘Ash’ Ashford in BBC’s Casualty, but was also seen in Strictly Come Dancing, Mount Pleasant and The Bill.
Ross Waiton, who plays Macduff, has appeared for the National Theatre in the West End in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, as well as in King Lear, Timon of Athens, Antigone, and many others; and on television in Maigret, Granchester and Beowulf, with film roles in Skyfall and Pride.
In addition to a strong theatre career, Tom Mannion, who plays Duncan & Siward, is also a well-known television face having appeared in Mr Selfridge, Spooks, Taggart, New Tricks, Life on Mars, Hustle and Waking the Dead.
Other cast members are Joseph Brown (Malcolm), Elizabeth Chan (Witch), Nisa Cole (Fleance), Reuben Johnson (Doctor), Helen Katamba (Murderer), Brad Morrison (Murderer), Hauk Pattison (Murderer), Evelyn Roberts (Witch & Boy), James Robinson (Lennox), Duncan Ross (Ensemble), Rachel Sanders (Ross), Olivia Sweeney (Witch & Gentlewoman), Deka Walmsley (Porter) and Lisa Zahra (Lady Macduff).