Monday, May 20, 2013


In his one-man Macbeth, the protean Alan Cumming orates, cries, hits his chest, yells, whispers, throws things, and tries to drown himself. What he doesn't do is define characters or tell a coherent story. Now and then you can catch chunks of Macbeth flying by, and Cumming does well by the famous bits: out, out damn spot; a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage; Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripped; and so on. But when he's acting out a conversation among a variety of characters, good luck figuring out who's saying what to whom.The framing story is sort of interesting, but obscure; for no apparent reason, Macbeth has become the rantings of a man with blood on his hands (neck, torso, arms, etc). Overall, Cumming's performance is impressive, but in the way that running a marathon is impressive.

I'll grant you that it's a cheap shot, but this Macbeth is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Full disclosure: most of the people in the audience jumped to their feet cheering when the show was over. 

(eighth row center, press ticket)

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