7/18/23 - 8/20/23
Village Theater of Cherry Hill - Canton, MI
"Directed by Janice L Blixt, this telling of the Scottish play is told simply and authentically, and placed in the time the Bard intended, 11th century. Indeed, the journey of Macbeth from strong leader to broken King is done deliberately with a sensible arc of his descent, which is not always the case . The ensemble is deftly directed and their teamwork and commitment comes through every minute of the play."
- David Kiley, EncoreMichigan
scroll for full review
The Tragedy of
Michigan Shakespeare Festival
MSF’s Macbeth a superb tragedy
David Kiley for EncoreMichigan
CANTON, Mich.– “The Scottish Play” is being presented by the Michigan Shakespeare Festival, one of two Shakespeare plays the company is performing at Village Theater, Canton. The other is Pericles. The non-Shakespeare play presented as part of the festival is George Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear.
David Blixt plays the title role in Macbeth, which is a story that never seems to lose its urgency or contemporary relevance. He is a man, a leader, who starts out in the story as a decent, honorable hero embodying all the qualities a governed people could hope for. But, oh how thing change. When Macbeth is presented with better trappings of his position as King of Scotland if he surrenders his most important values and convictions, he listens to the voices of temptations and eventually descends into a state of guilt-ridden madness he can’t live with.
Directed by Janice Blixt, who also takes a turn on stage as Lady Macbeth, this telling of the Scottish play is told simply and authentically, and placed in the time the Bard intended, 11th century. Indeed, the journey of Macbeth from strong leader to broken King is done deliberately with a sensible arc of his descent, which is not always the case. Some productions depict Macbeth as a bombastic swine from the start.
David Blixt has a great command of these Shakespeare leads, and this is no exception. Unlike some actors whose big personalities fill up the role, Blixt lets the Shakespeare verse come to him and often shows Macbeth’s vulnerabilities. Janice L Blixt brings a great human quality to Lady Macbeth -think of a Martha Stewart character who gets all Elizabethan and tragic by the second act in which she meets her demise.
Alan Ball is superb as Duncan, King of Scotland, who loses his throne. Other standouts include: Shawn Pfautsch as Seyton, Macbeth’s lieutenant, whose treachery advances with Macbeth’s; Rico Bruce Wade as Banquo, Macbeth’s friend; Ian Geers as Macduff; and Jaelyn Raiford as Malcolm, who avenges her father, Duncan,’s murder and leads an army to topple Macbeth. The ensemble is deftly directed and their teamwork and commitment comes through every minute of the play.
The set design by Evan Frank is wonderful with period arches hanging down from above, creating an authentic looking castle atmosphere while lighting and projections on the arches, as well as the back of the stage, allow changes of place to the forest and battlefield, as well as times of day and night. Lauren Montgomery has outfitted all the players perfectly for 1040. Diane Fairchild’s light design works seamlessly with Frank’s set. Dustin D. Miller designed projections. Music and sound design is by Kate Hopgood.
Macbeth is one of the best of Shakespeare plays for sword-play. And the fight scenes are gripping and well played.
This story of treachery, ambition, the power of conscience, murders, political overthrows by killing…Sadly it seems like it’s ripped from today’s headlines. Told in one of the pillars of the Shakespeare canon, it is more digestible and melodic from the MSF than it is from CNN.