Shakespeare with spice at Derby

macbeth largerShakespeare’s Macbeth is the story of the bloody self-destruction of a powerful family consumed by an explosive brew of passion, ambition and treachery.

Over the centuries the tragedy has been adapted many a time but this version from Tara Arts has to be one of the most fresh and contemporary and is full of ingenious tweaks.

Jatinder Verma the founder of the South London-based theatre group and artistic director of the play has been  called the Godfather of British Asian Theatre and he has definitely brought Macbeth to life with a powerful punch of modern Asian flavour.

Costumes, music and movement plant the story firmly in an Indian setting. Instead of the disputed crown there is a crimson turban to adorn the head of Maharaj Duncan Singh, whose empire is under threat.

His cousin Macbeth savagely puts down the rebellion and is then ambushed by three Weird Sisters who predict greater glory to come.

When Duncan decides to hand over the crown to his son, Macbeth begins his bloody road to power.

The three witches are re-imagined as Hijras – a strand of Indian culture made up of transsexuals, eunuchs and crossdressers
whose presence at births and marriages is seen as a sign of good luck.

They are from a different realm, a spirit world of trickery and prophecy, just like the witches explains Verma.

Combat takes the form of a kick boxing-style martial art and the action is driven by an on-stage drummer, who also provides sound effects.

The production stars Robert Mountford as Macbeth with Shaheen Khan as Lady Macbeth.

It is being produced in association with Queen’s Hall Arts and Black Live and can be seen at Derby Theatre from April 21-25.
For tickets go to