REVIEW: Muscular Take on MACBETH, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Santa Cruz Sentinel, Posted on August 12, 2015

Santa Cruz Shakespeare bids adieu to the Glen with a muscular take on Macbeth

By Joanne Engelhardt

Greta Wohlrabe (right, standing on table), as the warrior Banquo, is one of several women actors playing traditionally male roles in Santa Cruz Shakespeare's 'Macbeth.' Photo by r.r. jones

Greta Wohlrabe (right, standing on table), as the warrior Banquo, is one of several women actors playing traditionally male roles in Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth.’ Photo by r.r. jones

A word to the wise: Don’t accept an invitation from Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to be their houseguest for a night. Why? Because they’re downright killer hosts!

That, of course, sets up the rest of the storyline in William Shakespeare’s dark classic “Macbeth,” or — because many feel even saying the name of this play brings with it a curse — “The Scottish Play,” which is what some people call it.

Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s forceful interpretation of “M” (another acceptable option) opened last Friday night with lots of simulated thunder and lightning after the last preview of the show was cancelled Thursday night due to the real thing.

There’s much to recommend this production, in particular the thrilling music composed (and played) by sound designer Rudolfo Ortega, as well as Kurt Landisman’s dynamic, electrifying lighting.

It wouldn’t be Santa Cruz Shakespeare without some exceptional acting as well. (All of “Macbeth’s” large cast also appear in one of the other two plays now in repertory through Aug. 30.) What’s surprising in a bloody tragedy like this is that it’s mostly the women who stand out. First are the three lively, nefarious witches (the spellbinding and alluring Patty Gallagher, Suzanne Sturn and Mary Cavett) who goad Macbeth on to do his dirty deed (killing King Duncan) by revealing that he will become king. Equally as powerful is the complex, tightly wound performance of Melinda Parrett as the intimidating Lady Macbeth.

Certainly this play is nothing without a remarkable actor in the role of the troubled Scot himself, Macbeth. Steve Pickering fills the role with anguish, soul-searching and doubt, …


Tickets on sale now for the 2015 season, which features three outdoor productions, starting with the wickedly romantic Shakespeare comedy Much Ado About Nothing, opening July 3; followed by David Ives’s modern adaptation of the wickedly hilarious 17th century farce, The Liar, opening July 24; and Shakespeare’s wicked tragedy, Macbeth, opening August 7. Plus, SCS continues the tradition of its intern-showcasing Fringe production with four performances of the wickedly festive comedy The Rover, starting August 18.


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