Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
“Double, double toil and trouble, Fire burn and caldron bubble…” Three ethereal-looking witches (Hannah Griffith, T.K. Ajayi, and Shih-Ting Kao) took center stage Thursday night as Flint City Theatre teamed with Buckham Gallery to present Shakespeare’s gruesome and ghostly tragedy, Macbeth. The show incorporates art in as many aspects as possible, including sculpture, video, performance, sound and light. Sometimes it reaches a little, but all in all, this is an interesting production.
In the title role, Dean Vanderkolk portrayed this greedy Scot at first with a touch of camaraderie, but soon degenerated into the grasping and murderously evil villain of the piece as he strove to turn the witches’ prophecies into reality.
As Lady Macbeth, Megan Donahue was devious, but seemed to lack a truly deep and evil nature. Perhaps it was the country girl costume that was off putting. Her final scene was strong.
These two, having been led to believe that fate intends to make them royalty, decide to kill the reigning King Duncan (Bob Gerics) in his sleep. Gerics, looking a bit young to be an old king, still portrays the ruler as a fair and gentle man.
However, the witches told Macbeth that he would be king but that his friend Banquo (Patrick Munley) would sire a line of kings. So Macbeth carries out the murder of Duncan but fails to slay Prince Malcolm (Nick Hale) who then escapes to England where he will assemble an army to take back his father’s kingdom.
At this point the mayhem begins with Banquo being slain and his ghost turning up to seriously disturb the new king. We witness the further slaying of Lady MacDuff (Nancy Penvose) and the grief of her valiant husband (Philip Kautz), as well as the disturbing smothering of her baby. Jeremy Ellwood manages to effuse an effective degree of wickedness as the hired killer.
Director Dan Gerics uses all of the space at his disposal here and takes full advantage of Kevin Dzurak’s set design to cause ghosts and witches to all but literally appear and disappear before our eyes. One end of the spacious second floor gallery space has been transformed into a medieval castle complete with dimensional stone and a rustic, irregular wooden platform. Jesse Glenn’s stonework art is incredible and nearly worth the price of admission in its graphic authenticity.
The use of video depicting the battle being described early in the show was distracting; however its later use to illustrate the pending lineage of Banquo and the crowning of Banquo’s son, Fleance (Cory Snider) was effective.
All in all, this Macbeth will please the tragedians in the audience as there is plenty of gore and gruesome death and a couple of swashbuckling sword duels as well.
Macbeth continues at Buckham Gallery through May 28. For tickets and information online: www.flintcitytheatre.com