Macbeth @ Monument National
William Shakespeare. Easily the most produced playwright in the history of mankind, right? If you choose to run a Shakespeare piece, odds are most people have already seen it done, so you’ve got to do it in a new wave, or simply in a tremendous way. The Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company spends all of its time working on Shakespeare’s work, and it shows – they sure know how to put a good show together.
The set is central, with seating all around, on two floors. There’s a drum kit in one corner of the upper level, and four clear entrances to the stage below. Branches tied to the railings of the second floor add to the already musty feel of the room. Within moments, slow drum patterns (courtesy of Ace Lopes) begin to set the mood for the whole production, and stay active throughout, dictating the feel of the play from start to finish. As characters come and go, and the incredible performances of Alex Goldrich (Macbeth) and Stephanie von Roretz (Lady Macbeth) keep getting better and better, percussions weave their way into the subconscious of the room, raising hairs and accelerating heartbeats all around… and then a drunken porter (Jeremy Hechtman) stumbles in and switches the mood from tense & terrified to hilarious, but somehow foreboding. Hechtman’s a sucker for the spotlight it seems, and he makes his small scene count, allowing everyone to take a breather before the second act. And when that second act hits, boy does it hit.
This production is wonderful on so many counts: There are great performances left and right throughout this play, with an extra nod going to all those Weird Sisters, who scared the bejeezus out of me at least twice – I’ll give director Aaron George the nod on that one, too. The show also has some weak spots, with some fight scenes being well choreographed but poorly executed, but these things are minor. It’s a great show, and a fun way to experience a play that you have almost certainly already seen staged in your lifetime.
Tickets are a bit steep, hitting the 26$ mark if you buy your tickets directly from a cast member, or hitting the 37$ mark if you use the Monument National website. I hear they’re cheaper if you call the box office and order by phone (514-871-2224), so perhaps you should try that. If your wallet can survive this hit, then go see Macbeth as it runs until August 25th at Monument National.