IT is tempting to be trite by saying that the Scottish play becomes the skittish play in the hands of Belt Up Theatre, the company of ex-York university bright sparks that has found its home as the young company in residence at York Theatre Royal.

Granted, Alexander Wright’s production has its skittish moments, hence the most laughter at a Macbeth show since Peter O’Toole’s derided, camp “Macdeath” at the Old Vic in 1980, but it has depth, danger, balls, fear and a visceral clout too.

O’Toole called the play “full-blooded Shakespeare”, an apt description of Belt Up’s breathless ride through 105 minutes of unbroken psychological drama earlier this week.

Out go the Porter and the tedious discourse between Malcolm and Macduff; instead everything is filtered through Dominic J Allen’s shell-shocked Macbeth, who carries out all the murders himself, even singing The Bonnie Banks Of Loch Lomond as he strangles Lady Macduff.

At the outset, Macbeth appears to have stumbled from the First World War trenches into a bombed-out theatre, spiritual home to three music-hall clowns. Initially reminiscent of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, they are in fact the Witches, whose supernatural soliciting will steer Macbeth to his fate.

Between them, James Wilkes, Marcus Emerton and Joe Hufton’s weird sisters play all the characters, setting up each scene and never leaving the stage, no transformation more effective than Wilkes’s striptease change into a pregnant, tea-drinking Lady Macbeth.

Disturbing, irreverent, bloody, brilliant, this Macbeth affirms Belt Up are a much-needed loose cannon on York’s theatre scene.