Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Review - Great Lakes Theater Company Macbeth

I had the privilege of seeing the very first performance of this classic in the newly renovated Hanna Theater. Dougfred Miller was superb in the title role of Macbeth. The character at first "to full of the milk of human kindness" (yet able to split the foe from chaps to nave) is transformed before our eyes into the hardened man who believes himself invincible. Miller is amazing as Macbeth evolves from loyal subject to bloodthirsty scourge. Laura Pernotta plays Lady Macbeth as a seductress, tempting and cajoling her husband into forcing the witches predictions into being. This is the first time I've seen Lady Macbeth played this way, usually she is done as a shrew who shames her husband into slaying Duncan.

The witches were used more fully than in any production I have seen. The costuming was fabulous, giving them a look that was part bat (or bird), part mime. The results was eerie. Combined with the war-like beating drums and gongs, it was truly unearthly.

The casting of Banquo and Macduff were also right on. These men (Lynn Robert Berg and David Anthony Smith, respectively) gave commanding performances - and were spectacular in the sword-fighting scenes.

Scenic designer Gage Williams is SUBLIME. This guy is incredible. I want his job! I would love, love, love to apprentice with someone like this. It would be a dream job. The beautiful metaphor of red ribbon for blood added color and an intensity to the drama.

Particularly great scene: When Banquo's ghost shows up at the banquet, driving Macbeth nutty.

Kudos: To the porter - he does a great job providing the comic relief. :) Who did his hair? lol

Only glitches: There were a couple of scenes that we just didn't see. The witches talking about the sailor whose boat they hit with a tempest because his wife refused one chestnuts. Not sure if they did away with that one entirely or just ditched it for this matinee performance. Also, the part of Malcom - while the actor did a very good job (Phil Carroll), he seemed to young and "pretty" for the part. It didn't surprise me to learn that he plays the part of Rapunzel's prince in "Into the Woods."

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