November 6, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 38  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

English department successfully retells Macbeth


Macbeth

Starring: Jason Rip, Jo Devereux
Directed by: Christopher Lockett

By Kelly Marcella
Gazette Staff

While this may be “the play that dare not speak its name,” the cast and crew of Shakespeare’s cursed tragedy Macbeth were unafraid to throw themselves completely into this all-around solid production.

The English department at Western and director Christopher Lockett combined efforts to produce an impressive version of Macbeth. The play, for the most part consisted of strong acting along with effective use of staging and props to convincingly tell the story of the rise and fall of the murderous Scottish king.

Rip’s role as Macbeth did justice to the intricate nature of the character. He was excellent in portraying the inconsistencies of Macbeth, wafting seamlessly between his desires to become king and his guilt-ridden conscience, carrying the entire production with the humanity and realism he infused into his role.

While Lady Macbeth is typically considered the embodiment of evil in the play, Devereux’s performance of this driven wife was lacklustre. She took half the performance to work into her role, not fully coming into character until her last appearance on stage. Devereux was an effective foil to Rip’s Macbeth, but at the same time, was unable to reveal Lady Macbeth’s potent force in the unfolding of this tragedy.

The supporting cast consisted of a host of strong performances, including those of Holm Bradwell as Macduff and Sean Mulligan as Banquo, who were more than impressive in their respective roles. Also, Jordan Matteis’ Malcolm was a seamless and natural performance and one of the most solid characters in this production.

Finally, in their respective characters, Roberta Jones (Macduff’s son), Deane Billington-Whiteley (Porter) and Steven Adam (Young Siward) were funny, enticing and welcome additions to the production.

In terms of staging, Lockett used interesting methods of blocking for various scenes, so as to appear tableau-like in presentation. The entire production was incredibly well staged, making full use of the space available and allowing effective interplay between the characters’ body language. The battle scenes were intricate and well choreographed, adding to the overall visual enticement of Lockett’s production.

The scenes with the witches and apparitions were effectively blocked to appear visually intriguing, giving emphasis to this aspect of the production. Julie-Ann Stodolny, Laura Higgs and Bethany Cairns were well cast in their roles as the witches, menacingly chanting out omens to Macbeth.

Macbeth was a well-developed production showcasing talented acting, effective use of minimal props and costumes, as well as strong direction. Overall, this performance was successful in retelling the tragedy and espousing many of the themes in Shakespeare’s classic play.

 

 

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