Shakespeare ReTold: Macbeth, BBC1

by | Nov 14, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say if you liked it

An inspired idea – setting The Scottish Play in the kitchen of stylish restaurant where the chef Macbeth puts in all the hard work (making pig’s brain edible etc) while the owner Duncan takes all the credit (and the three Michelin stars).

What to say if you disliked it

While the reworking of Much Ado About Nothing was a joy, Peter Moffatt’s Macbeth makeover was dour and a lot less successful.

What was good about it?

• The transformation of the three witches into dustbin men, listening to the Bee Gees and chomping on their sandwiches (corn beef and anchovy/tongue/egg mayonnaise and ketchup) before delivering their chilling prophecies

• James McAvoy drinking straight from a milk bottle (the milk of human kindness, of course) while topless was strangely erotic.

• The rendition of The Ronettes’ Baby I Love You by chef Joe Macbeth and his kitchen crew

• McAvoy’s Joe exuded a passion for food, best shown when he butchered a pig’s head and demanded that meat be treated with respect. But he was a lousy murderer – suffering visions of blood and becoming increasingly unhinged after plunging the knife into Duncan.

• The good joke about Gordon Ramsay – to utter his name in the kitchen was akin to mentioning Macbeth in theatrical circles.

• Keeley Hawes as the icy, manipulative Ella Macbeth

• The cameo appearance by Philip Whitchurch as a crazed health inspector (in a version of the original’s porter scene)

What was bad about it?

• There were clever touches aplenty but the overall effect was dull.

• Most of the characters had no real authenticity.

• The nonsense about flying pigs.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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