BWW Review: Denver Center's MACBETH Stimulates... Everything
"It won't even feel like Shakespeare!"-I'd told my fiancé, who bowed out of this production because he thought he'd fall asleep.
Granted, there would be no sleeping during the current Denver Center Theatre Company's production of Macbeth, featuring an all-male cast in sexy costuming, performing the classic to thumping electronica. (Who knew the M in EDM could stand for Macbeth?)
Honestly, I don't know the story of Macbeth well. But at least reading a plot synopsis could have benefitted my experience at this production...as I didn't have a clue to what was happening during many of the scenes.
That's never a fun fact for a critic to admit. Was the production missing something, or was I just really bad at following it? Shakespeare can do that to me. Let's just blame it on my attention span and the amount of nearly naked men prancing around me.
The production was visually stimulating, showcasing the technical elements now available in the freshly redesigned Space Theatre. When the effects were heavy, the music was bumping and the movement was hypnotizing, I was into it. I felt the energy. I was enveloped by the artistry of it all.
Directed by Robert O'Hara, this Macbeth definitely doesn't feel like any Shakespeare production. The fight scenes are choreography. Swords are white gloves lit by blacklight. Lady Macbeth enters to a song you might recognize from Kill Bill. I felt like I was at Tracks on a Saturday.
What O'Hara's vision gives this show is a ferocious vibe, and not just because the witches are played by guys who call each other "sister." The all-male casting lends itself well to the normally female characters. Lady Macbeth (Adam Poss) finds power in androgyny. He plays the role with just enough submission to make her vulnerable, while not letting go of her authority. In turn, Macbeth (Ariel Shafir) has a bit more wit than you'd expect, toying with audience members and using the character's charisma to his advantage.
Jason Sherwood's scenic design is stunning, utilizing the Space's immersive atmosphere as set pieces are maneuvered like choreography. Original music and sound design by Lindsay Jones makes the show pulsate in the most satisfying way. Alex Jainchill's lighting design is exhilarating. But if you see this show just for Dede M. Ayite's costumes, you won't leave disappointed.
Sure, I had to quickly scroll through a plot synopsis during intermission, but this production has so much more to offer than a story. While you might get a little lost like me, this isn't the kind of Shakespeare you'll sleep through.
Denver Center Theatre Company's Macbeth plays the Space Theatre through Oct. 29. For more info, visit DenverCenter.org.
Photos by AdamsVisCom