WHEN a play is still being performed nearly 400 years after the death of its author, it's a pretty good sign that you're in for a great show.
Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare's most popular plays, which has lent itself to many interpretations and settings.
Now, Coffs Harbour actor and director Beckley Vincent has assembled a local troupe to stage the classic tale of power, ambition and treachery in an entirely new and exciting form, launching at the Jetty Theatre on Friday.
"We're presenting a modern retelling, which is set in the criminal world, and it has a really slick Underbelly and Lock Stock feel to it," he said.
"It stays true to the original themes, but elements have shifted in terms of we're wearing leather jackets and suits instead of chain mail."
The fast-paced production also incorporates advanced lighting and sound effects to bring the saga into the modern world.
"We've gone for a cinematic style and we're using the entire theatre as a stage - our aim is to fully engage the audience," he said.
"It's certainly not a slow, drifting retelling."
Playing Macbeth is the newest chapter in an extensive acting career for Beckley, born from an early passion for sharing stories.
Raised in Nana Glen, he caught the acting bug during his first school drama show, and later performed in productions across Australia.
"At heart I'm a storyteller, and as a kid I always liked telling jokes, or doing vocal character impressions for the amusement of others. I just loved to tell a story," he said.
"With theatre, whether it be comedy or drama, I love the fact that it can take you away from the day-to-day business of life."
Taking on both directing and acting duties for Macbeth, he'll be joined by a host of local actors, including his younger brother Grant, playing Banquo, and Courtney Campbell as Lady Macbeth.
While plenty of laughs have been shared during rehearsals, Beckley said the retelling would not shy away from the darker themes.
"The ending is a triumph for the forces of good but as the play progresses, Macbeth becomes removed from humanity," he said.
"I try and show that even though he succumbs to darker side of his nature, he's still human - he's still trying to hold on."
Macbeth plays at the Jetty from August 7-14. Visit www.jettytheatre.com or call 6652 8088 for details.