By Josh Edelson
By Chris Hall
By Jonathan Curiel
By Jonathan Curiel
By Sherilyn Connelly
By Mollie McWilliams
By Rachel Swan
By Erin Browner
I cannot say for sure that Melrose intended all the Freudian references, but even if he didn't, the resonance is strong, in places heavy-handed. Still, this Macbeth is intriguing, intellectually involving, visually imaginative, and -- best of all -- funny. Petal is a formidable presence onstage. He brings out, with impeccable comic timing, the dark humor in his character. Cavorting about in his Second World War soldier's uniform, he sometimes resembles Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator. It's an enthralling performance, if perhaps a little too much -- it can be hard to keep up with the actor's constant changes of emotion.
If the production falls on its sword in any way, it's from that very problem: Between the symbolism of dead children, doors, trees, mirrors, knocking, etc., and the 1940s period costuming (which feels somewhat unsubstantiated and superimposed), there are just too many ideas to grasp. The casting only exacerbates the confusion. The decision to use only six actors works, to a degree: Having each cast member play several roles cleverly emphasizes the work's internal landscape. But if you don't know Macbeth very well, it's easy to get lost. Actors jump from part to part with little to indicate they've changed roles. As a result, the overwhelming sweep of Shakespeare's most relentlessly action-packed tragedy is constantly being interrupted while we figure out who's onstage.
Through June 11
Tickets are $20-25
If Freud were alive today, he'd probably tell the deep-thinking director to get out of his own head. Melrose's Macbeth is deliciously brainy -- and I mean that in both a literal and a figurative sense: It's full of clever-clever ideas, and it exists mostly in the space between Macbeth's ears.
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