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Sonoma County Gazette
Macbeth (Peter Rogers) and Lady Macbeth (Yelena Segal)
Macbeth (Peter Rogers) and Lady Macbeth (Yelena Segal)

Review – ‘Macbeth, The Witches’ Cut’ at Curtain Call Theatre in Monte Rio


Jun 5, 2019
by Alexa Chipman


William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ is saturated with a mystical, charged atmosphere of shrouded moors and supernatural omens echoing through castle halls. In this unique adaptation by Avilynn Pwyll, magick takes center stage through the antics of witches and Lady Macbeth’s dark arts. Cauldrons bubble, spells are cast, and male characters fade into the background until the play’s climax when the rightful king is crowned. The concept is brilliant, turning a traditional play upside-down to reveal forceful women willing to stop at nothing to achieve their desires.

Director Michael Tabib achieves occasionally chilling moments, such as the visceral chanting of“Burning Times” while the witches approach their pentagram among stony ruins. The flavor of this production is primarily tongue-in-cheek and flamboyant, which does not always match the subject matter.

Loyal Scottish noble Ross (Ryan Riehle)The three spellcasters (Kathy Ping Rogers,Jamie Colleran, and Katy Brown) are captivating in elaborate makeup and warm-toned costumes, representing the ancient trio of mother, maiden and crone. Their giddy, unfocused cavorting seems out of place with grounded, earth-based witches. Tabib keeps them constantly undulating with energy, and they rush in and out of circle rituals without any preparation. This may be due to Shakespeare’s original text, which calls for a whirling dance among the three.

Yelena Segal’s poised, intense Lady Macbeth is more credible as a witch. Her early monologue calling upon spirits for unflinching cruelty has been staged as a dark spell, and it explains the price of madness later in the story, when she is cursed with restless sleepwalking.

The chemistry between Segal and Peter Rogers (Macbeth) is scintillating. She has him entirely within her power, and it makes sense that he is willing to murder for her. Rogers brings his trademark slapstick comedy to the role, which is an unusual, but amusing interpretation.

There are memorable scenes in this production, such as Joseph Potter’s drunken Porter and Banquo’s ghost appearing at the banquet. Unfortunately, the overall execution of ‘Macbeth, The Witches’ Cut’ falls short, despite a fascinating reimagining of the story.

Prince Malcolm (Jake Hamlin) garbed for his coronation.

Macbeth, The Witches’ Cut
Presented by Curtain Call Theatre through June 22, 2019
Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Tickets: $20 General, $15 Seniors / Students
June 22 Buffet Gala: $50 Donation

Russian River Hall
20347 Highway 116, Monte Rio 95462
(707) 524-8739

Photos by Molly Lawless

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Alexa Chipman Live Theater reviews


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