Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Theater Review: Macbeth at Lincoln Center

If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you already know that I have a slight obsession with Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth. Just this year, we’ve already seen the show in two different forms – the avant garde, Sleep No More and Verdi’s version performed at the Metropolitan Opera. So, it was not a surprise that when I learned Alan Cumming was bringing his one-man show of this play to the Lincoln Center Festival, I was on board.

While I had been to the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle countless times, I had no idea that there was a theater hidden in there! Not surprisingly, the Rose Theater was really nice and much more spacious than I would have imagined for being tucked away in a high-rise. Our seats were in the last row of the balcony (trying to be economical here!) but our view was still great. 

As far as the show itself, we had no idea what to expect. How was Cumming going to play all the roles? Would it even make sense? Thanks to a pretty good understanding of the work, we had no trouble following along and discerning which character was which. This version of the play was set in modern times in a very clinical psych ward in which Cumming plays the lone patient. (This set actually reminded me a bit of the King James Sanitarium from Sleep No More – yes, all roads lead back to Sleep No More.) Within the walls of the institution, Cumming seamlessly switched roles from Duncan to Lady Macbeth to Banquo with ease. I have a soft spot for Malcolm, so I especially enjoyed Cumming’s use of a baby doll to act out that part! To add a bit of a supernatural element to the minimalistic production, the three witches gave their prophecies over three TV monitors. 

In my opinion, Cumming is an evil genius in that he made this production work. How he remembered so much dialogue, let alone Shakespearean, is beyond me. While a bit out of the box, this show was certainly a hit for me. If you happen to be in NYC this week and you want to see a different sort of show than you’d find a few blocks over in the theater district, I urge you to check it out! 

The show runs through July 14th and tickets are available here.  Read the New York Times' review here


Popcorn, Pugs & Peonies said...

You are always doing something interesting somewhere cool.


Stephanie said...

Thanks! When we're not able to get out of New York, we try to take advantage of all NYC has to offer.