IT is a rare sight to see Shakespeare on stage at the Mayflower and to see an audience made up of at least 70 per cent school pupils.

But I am certain this Rufus Norris - directed version of the great ‘Scottish Play’ will inspire many lively debates in English lessons today!

Much conversation may flow around it’s utterly bleak and bizarre setting in the present time and an unspecified dystopian world where there has been some sort of catastrophic civil war.

Visually there is nothing to link it to it’s original historic period. Characters are largely dressed in dirty, grungy modern day clothes such as ripped jeans and combat wear with the exception of colourful suits worn by more superior figures and the sequinned dress worn at one stage by Lady Macbeth.

Rae Smith’s set is dark, depressing and deathly throughout with its key features being a steep, sloping wooden walkway and what looks like filthy giant mops – down which the Weird Sisters slide or perch like vultures, and a backdrop of what resembles black seaweed or shredded bin liners.

Whilst the setting was striking I was left questioning why it was necessary to make everything look so filthy and foul; you felt like you needed a good scrub down and a blast of sunshine by the end!

The make-shift costumes were a little confusing and if you were not very familiar with the text - all spoken in Scottish accents here, you may have been grappling to work out who was who.

The play's social and political context was lost which I felt was a shame although others may argue differently.

Despite this and the editing of the script the great speeches were clearly presented throughout and it was these moments where I simply savoured the great Bard's words.

Kirsty Besterman was a powerful Lady Macbeth, encapsulating her womanly power and final human weakness. Likewise, Michael Nardone brought realism to the complexities of Macbeth.

And the verdict of the audience? The students were engrossed throughout and whooped and cheered at the end.