Sian's dad hasn't been back to the scene of the crime sinceGeograph: John S Turner

A few years ago, I took my dad to see a production of Macbeth at Liverpool’s Everyman theatre. He hasn’t been back there since. This isn’t because he’s a philistine, or because he has a deep-rooted hatred of theatre or even of Shakespeare; it was more that for him, this was the tip of the iceberg.

As someone with a deep enough interest in literature, and theatre in particular, to warrant the debt of £27,000 it costs me to study it, even I couldn’t tell you much about the prowess of the lead in this production, or whether the ghosts and witches were figments of Macbeth’s tortured psyche or not, and so on. The pivotal moments of the plot are not the aspects of the play that have remained in my memory for so long, and this is a crying shame.

“Stunts like this are rife – they’re off-putting to theatregoers and build barriers”

Instead, I remember having my face bespattered with the bright orange powder of the cheesy Wotsits that were being flung around the auditorium during the banquet scene for no discernible reason by a comically incensed Lady Macbeth. The flying jelly babies that followed constituted little more than the pointing of a crude finger towards her lost child. As ludicrous and amusing as this all might sound, my dad just looked perplexed and bemused.

And he wasn’t alone. The truth is that stunts like this are rife. They’re off-putting to theatregoers and build barriers, particularly to those who aren’t that enamoured with the place to begin with. Now I don’t deny that in the right context and circumstance, innovation undeniably has its place in theatre, but this kind of scenario isn’t it. I hardly think that the penchant of the Macbeths in this production for food laden with E-numbers and additives added much at all.

Et tu, Trump? Not the kind of Caesar we should be gunning forFlickr: Gage Skidmore

By all means, re-animate classics and bring them to life in the modern day, but not without rhyme or reason, and directors should respect the nuance. For example, the collaboration between Gregory Doran with Intel and The Imaginarium Studios in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2016 production of The Tempest exemplifies this distinction between innovation and gimmickry perfectly.

“I don’t want to see Oedipus Rex in a car park, or watch Hedda Gabler performed on stilts, or even entertain the sight of Julius Caesar wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap”

The actor, Mark Quartley, could be seen physically on stage as Ariel, but his living presence was also rendered into a computer-generated form that hovered and took on multiple kaleidoscopic forms. Such ethereal wonder is written into the very essence of the piece. The hi-tech inclusions didn’t mean that there were any detractions or distractions from the play – it was all the better for it.

But quite frankly, I don’t want to see Oedipus Rex in a car park, or watch Hedda Gabler performed on stilts, or even entertain the sight of Julius Caesar wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. Subtlety is key, and relevant or not – and they’re usually not – these gimmicky additions are trite. The message doesn’t need to be forced so heavy-handedly in our faces, if there even is one.

Nonsensical twists, absurd adaptations and secret venues alike, all are money-making ploys that serve little purpose other than to get bums on seats. They might do initially, but they won’t get people coming back for more once the fad has run dry.

Hopefully, with a bit of persistence, I’ll get my dad back in the theatre one day. I’m just hoping that Hamlet isn’t wearing a space suit

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