Gruesome Goth girls are star witches in Larbert writer’s ‘Scottish play’

The three witches in Shakespeare’s “Tartan Noir” version of the reign of Scottish king Macbeth have been portrayed in many different ways over the years - and in many different cultures.

By Roy Beers
Saturday, 6th April 2019, 12:34 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th April 2019, 1:04 pm
Tryst Theatre's witchy trio (from left) - Clare Scougall, Rhona McColl and Laveena Rai.
Tryst Theatre's witchy trio (from left) - Clare Scougall, Rhona McColl and Laveena Rai.

There’s the creepy lady-in-the-woods in Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood”, and some terrifying Zulu witch doctors in the South African Macbeth, UMabatha.

But the Satanic three are usually portrayed Monty Python style, as ancient, cackling hags with terrible complexions, huddled over a bubbling cauldron.

So Larbert writer Kenneth Ross took a different tack for his upcoming version of “the Scottish Play” (Macbeth) in Alloa’s Coach House Theatre - both with a makeover, of sorts, for the eldritch ladies of the underworld, and with the dialogue.

At one point, we’re told, Macbeth describes the three as looking like “Goths on their way back from Glastonbury” - and he may have a point,

Tryst Theatre’s Macbeth is retold in a 60-minute version which, despite an imaginative twist on the 16th century script, still ends with the much-traduced Caledonian monarch caught up in a drastic downward spiral into guilt, madness and death.

We’re told: “It’s a classic tragedy of ruthless ambition and twisted obsession brought bang up to date with camo gear, ipads, smartphones...and even a hoover at one point!”

Director Alan Clark said: “Working with make-up professional Olivia Robinson, we created designs that make the three witches look seriously scary...and combined with the costumes they’ve all come up with, Olivia’s fantastic work will add so much to the edgy menace of the play.”

David Webster plays the wannabe Scottish king, and Carol Clark is the super-ambitious Lady Macbeth (to whom Shakespeare naturally attributes all the blame).

This latest spin on the Bard of Avon’s Hammer House of Horrors take on Scottish history is in a double bill with PVT Wars by James McLure, a short comedy about three psychiatric patients in a veteran’s hospital who are recovering from Vietnam War injuries.

The play features a series of hilarious episodes which create snapshots of their everyday life, while also showing that they are broken, frightened and desperately lonely.

It features Jim Allan, Brian Paterson and Brian Tripney. Jim Allan directs.

The two dramas run from April 16 to 19 at the Coach House Theatre, Alloa, from 7.30pm on each night.

Tickets, priced £11, are available at