Less is more”, the utmost credo of minimalism, was often used by Peter Brook, one of Britain’s most influential directors.

And it is impossible not to think about that line, when seeing the Tomahawk Theatre’s staging of Macbeth at the Oxford Castle (on til July 27).

With barely any stage set, using stone outside the castle as the stage, at first the play might seem as to be a sort of a happening, something put together by a group of Shakespeare’s fans who had a spare evening, one barrel and one reflector stand, and decided to perform the show just for pleasure of doing so.

In professional theatre this kind of minimalism might be dangerous. When the cast is cut down so severely that actors often play three characters, it is very easy to make the story incomprehensible and the audience disappointed to the point of finding it unworthy of their time to go to productions which are not supported by a significant budget.

But Tomahawk Theatre made up for any lack of resources by transforming obstacles into advantages and squeezing the acting skills of the cast to the very last drop. The effect is the very best of open air theatre.

Less is more, when simple costume design makes every character not only easily distinguishable, but one learns from the leaflet how many different characters were played by one actor.

Oxford Mail:

But less is even more, when the descending sun’s glow slowly abandons the walls of the castle as to resemble the darkening of the play’s plot, or when one is virtually unable to tell, whether bell sounds and bird chirps were played from recording or come by accidentally.

Read more: Any dream will do for X Factor star Jaymi in Joseph

And it is pure magic of the theatre, making the viewer completely immersed in the story, when on warm summer evening king Duncan points the medieval wall with his hand and says: “This castle hath a pleasant seat, the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself, unto our gentle senses.”

And to make the evening even better, the theatre did not avoid making references to the situation of modern Britain.

Not to spoil the fun, it is enough to say, that one of Brexit-related quotes appears in the play as a very smart pun.