DANIEL Taylor has played the much-missed magician Tommy Cooper before to much critical acclaim.

Now the West End star is up to his old tricks again with his engagingly in-the-round-styled Shakespearean drama productions.

And I am under no illusions that his vision to make Shakespearean classics more accessible in similar ways to Northern Broadsides, will ensure he goes from strength to strength in his admirable mission.

Daniel's adventurous home-grown company should be proud of this latest tight and robust treatment of The Scottish Play.

This latest adaptation of Macbeth, from Helen Jeffery - a graduate of the respected Everyman's Playwright Programme - allows each and every member of the 15-strong cast to shine.

It is well-paced over two and half hours including an interval.

There is a spot on use of lighting around the minimal set which conveys the overall bleakness of the Bard's shortest tragedy.

On entering the Epstein atmospheric, eerie sounds emanate from the stage.

It is reminiscent of the darkest of ghost train attractions at a fairground.

Director Daniel uses the Epstein's interior to maximum effect.

Some characters arrive and depart from the back of the theatre featuring entrances and exits with cape-adorned enthusiasm.

Daniel's cast includes fellow Blood Brother members the versatile Sean Jones (Macbeth) and Warwick Evans (King Duncan) who both have considerable stage presence.

Sean's brave general only cracks a smile half way through the play.

Mind you, there's not much to laugh at when your fate has been relayed by bumping onto three witches.

Guilt and paranoia await in the wings

His wicked wife Lady M is played by Tracy Spencer-Jones who is particularly persuasive in the evil stakes when she sleepwalks to her own fate guided by a flickering, ominous candlelight.

Sean Jones is a very believable Macbeth without, say, any of the grand Orson Welles-styled power rants.

His ongoing confusion about the violent path he is on is delivered in a series of bemused, reflective outbursts.

You can hear every crisp, single-minded thought as his power mad drive spirals out of control.

And there is a powerful portrayal of Lady Macduff by Kaitlin Howard who

is also the fight director.

Kaitlin has created many stunning, realistic scenes.

A highlight is a beheading to behold which would not look out of place in a Hammer Horror film.

Lenny Wood playing two roles provides laugh-out-loud light relief as a drunken porter.

And I raise a toast to Gareth Llewelyn's calming and level- headed Banquo ... with friends like Macbeth who needs enemies.

This home-grown company have again stamped their own individual and collective passion on the play in hand.

To date, Daniel Taylor Productions have impressed and inspired in equal measure.

I am sure they will continue to break new ground.

Four stars - Blood and Gutsy

The production is on until March 16.

Tickets from the box office on 0844 8884411.