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BWW Review: MACBETH at Southwest Shakespeare Company

BWW Review: MACBETH at Southwest Shakespeare Company

BWW Review: Macbeth

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's most haunting plays. It is the perfect selection for Halloween and the fall repertory at Southwest Shakespeare. Filled with murder, witches, and ghosts, Macbeth is sure to frighten and unsettle its audience.

Director, Drew Shirley, uses light and shadows to create an evocative atmosphere for Macbeth's descent into madness. Instead of three witches, the parts have been combined into one, played by Elizabeth Broeder. Broeder has given each wytch a unique voice. She uses her body and a hellish intake of breath to signify the difference between the multiple personalities. The presence of the wytch is felt whether she is on stage or not. Her mystical presence and the power she holds over the mind no doubt contributes to the destruction of Macbeths' sanity.

As Macbeth, Kyle Sorrell is ambitious, angry, direct, distraught, unhinged, agitated, and easily manipulated. Sorrell delivers his lines with precision, and uses his physicality to display the torrent of emotions Macbeth is feeling as his sanity hangs by a thread. Despite Macbeth's motives and actions, Sorrell's portrayal allows the audience to feel for the character. There is humanity in Macbeth that disappears as he fights to keep his throne.

His wife, Lady Macbeth, played by Alison Campbell, is just as ambitious as Macbeth. She spurs him on and participates when Macbeth falters. Her descent into madness is slower than Macbeth's, but guilt is a tricky mistress. Campbell is a force. She presents the duality of Lady Macbeth - the innocent flower and the serpent underneath it.

Malcolm is the oldest son of King Duncun, who runs away when his father is murdered. Played by Gustavo Flores, Malcolm realizes that Macbeth is not as integrous as his father supposed and fights to regain his throne. Flores is commanding, but displays the weakness necessary for the audience to believe he would flee to preserve his life.

Macduff and his family also pose a threat to Macbeth, so they must be destroyed. Macduff is played by Justus Burkett. He is regal and dedicated to his country and King. He has lost his sight in battle, but fights valiantly until the end. Lady Macbeth takes up her sword to fight for the kingdom and turns it on Macbeth when she learns of his villainy. Dayna Donovan is strong and in touch with the emotions Lady Macduff grapples with throughout the play.

Banquo is a friend to Macbeth who is with him when he first hears the prophecies of the wytch. Banquo is promised that his descendants will be Kings. Played by Betsy Mugavero, Banquo is a loyal friend and confidant. Mugavero presents Banquo with integrity and reticence. Banquo is not easily swayed, and her stalwart nature haunts Macbeth.

Macbeth is not known for its comedy, but Quinn Mattfeld brings a bit of levity to the proceedings as Seyton. Mattfeld uses physical comedy with adept skill. His presence becomes quite sinister as the play progresses and the tragedy unfolds.

There are several Thanes in Macbeth, but the most prominently featured is Ross. Played by Rashaud Williams, Ross is loyal to Macbeth until he realizes he should not be. As Ross is heavily involved in the plot, Williams appears frequently and clearly delivers his lines which helps keep the audience on track. This is especially important and no small feat for the works of Shakespeare.

Dalton T Davis, Christina McSheffrey, and Victor Yang make up the supporting cast. Each plays several roles and brings their unique talents to the stage. The story of Macbeth is meant to haunt the audience. Because it's Halloween and weird is in the air, Macbeth provides the perfect backdrop for spooky Halloween enjoyment. The cast is superb and the effects are chilling.

Macbeth, presented by the Southwest Shakespeare Company plays at the Mesa Arts Center through November 9, 2019. Tickets can be purchased here.

Photo Credit: Devon C. Adams

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