Sir Kenneth Branagh has won a slew of five star reviews for his stage comeback in Macbeth. The actor has returned to the theatre for the first time in five years with the title role in William Shakespeare's tragedy, which opened in a deconsecrated Victorian church as part of the Manchester International Festival in Manchester, England on Thursday (04Jul13). The production, which also features ER star Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth, has now been hailed a huge success by critics, with The Guardian's Michael Billington even comparing Branagh's performance to that of acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier. He writes, "What I admire about Branagh is that he is not afraid to do a spot of old-fashioned acting. The highest compliment I can pay him is that at times he evoked golden memories of Olivier in the role... This is an exciting production that shows why Branagh is such a fine Shakespearean actor." Dominic Cavendish of The Daily Telegraph branded the play "thrilling" and gave it five stars out of five, adding, "This is a Macbeth, though, that won’t just go down as a highlight of the Manchester International Festival but as one of the Scottish Play’s great revivals. It’s a phoenix-like feather in the cap of Sir Ken, too, comeback Shakespearean king." Quentin Letts of The Daily Mail also gave the play five stars and hailed Branagh as a "magnificent actor" while another five stars came from Deanna Delamotta of the Manchester Evening News. The part in Macbeth not only marks Branagh's first stage role in five years, it also marks his return to Shakespeare after more than a decade of absence, while it is his first time playing the Bard's tragic Scottish king.