Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of MACBETH at California Shakespeare Theater?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of MACBETH at California Shakespeare Theater?

Macbeth recently opened at Cal Shakes. Find out what the critics had to say!

A drum, a drum, Macbeth doth come! Not seen on the Bruns stage since 2010, Macbeth returns in a striking new production by visionary director Victor Malana Maog. "This year has marked something of a homecoming for Victor, who was born and raised in Union City," says Artistic Director Eric Ting. "A dear friend, I've long admired his great love of language and of life, and the courage with which he navigates the light and dark of the human condition in his work. I'm so thrilled to see what he creates in collaboration with this ensemble of amazing actors."

"In these times of dubious morality, vile actions, and cold-hearted events, it seems apt to present the madness, brilliance and unmooring of Macbeth," says Maog. "Our ten-actor cast led by Rey Lucas and Liz Sklar, will enter the story through the dark mind of our would-be king: the haunted and paranoid spaces between reality and sleep, logic and craze, earth and the afterlife. We hope to sweep the audience into the lusts within the play: for power, glory, revenge, and an ever elusive completeness."

Read the reviews below!


Lily Janiak, Datebook: When Lady Macbeth (Liz Sklar) reads a letter with her husband's news - that he's received a new title, just as the witches predicted, and that they also predicted he'll become king - she isn't just the ruthless power seeker of standard interpretation. Sklar's Lady Macbeth feels an acute loss when she bids spirits to "unsex" her. She knows she's cutting off a part of herself, and she's mourning it, even as she's unswerving in her path, and must get that mourning done quickly. That choice establishes the possibility for later, when she can no longer check her compunction.

Jean Schiffman, San Francisco Examiner: In the title role of the thane-who-would-be-king, Cal Shakes newcomer Rey Lucas etches out a carefully calibrated performance, evolving slowly and organically from a low-key soldier activated by the prophecy of the three witches (played by various cast members at different times, always effectively) to a man driven berserk by his own snowballing ambition.

Jennifer Ann Charron, Theatrius: The three witches who prophesy Macbeth's bloody rise to power drift on unnervingly. Played in turn by other actors, the witches create a haunting presence with blue lace draped over their costumes. While kind of spooky, they are a missed opportunity for Costume Designer Melissa Torchia, who seems to favor ease and quick costume changes over a truly scary presentation. However, Elizabeth Rhodes sound design provides truly creepy voices to scare us.

Photo Credit: Kevin Berne

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