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'Macbeth' (review): Chills and thrills for audiences

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Main Street Theater (MST) hosts the Prague Shakespeare Company’s production of “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare at the Rice Village location with shows running through Sunday, March 9. This is the third co-production between the Prague Shakespeare Company and Main Street Theater, over the past two seasons they have had celebrated productions of “Henry V” and “Richard III”. Scaled down for a small preforming space and cast, “Macbeth” still holds the intrigue, mystery and eerie essence from the original text.

The Prague Shakespeare Company was originally founded in 2008 by Guy Roberts in Prague, Czech Republic, to bring English-language theater productions to Central Europe. The focus of this theater is the works for William Shakespeare and they create top quality performances to perform around the world. Under the direction of Roberts, the production of “Macbeth” at MST creates an intimate setting where audiences get an up-close glimpse into this dark and tragic play.

Running for 80 minutes without an intermission, audiences are hooked in to the performance without any breaks to catch their breath. Keeping the audience engaged helps to maintain the suspense and intensity of this powerful play. Although Roberts plays Macbeth during most of the performances at MST, March 5 evening performance and the final performance on March 9, has David Wald in the starring role. Likewise, Jessica Boone plays Lady Macbeth for much of the shows performances, but Bree Welch portrayed Lady Macbeth during the March 5 performance as well as for the final performance.

The house lights are brought down and audiences are thrust into one of the central elements of the play witchcraft. This production veers from the original Shakespeare play, which included only three witches, yet this production has nine. These witches heighten the intensity throughout the production standing in the shadows appearing and disappearing, chanting and hissing echoes of words to create eerie emphasis. Like ally Shakespeare tragedy, murder and death are central elements, these witches hiss at Macbeth hailing him “Thane of Glamis," and insisting he will be “king”. His taking of the throne would main the current King's death or murder, which is the event that truly gets the play going.

Wald seems to transform on stage, just as Macbeth does in the play. He is transformed from a moderately intriguing actor to an ambition crazed, murdering, fearful and paranoid driven King. Welch truly steals the show with her Lady Macbeth portrayal. From the moment she opens her mouth on stage, audiences hang on her every word. She flawlessly delivers her monologues as she reveals her own like minded ambitions as her husband, as they desire to ascend to be the ruling family in Scotland. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth spiral into madness driven there by their own actions of murder and lies as they scrape and crawl their way to the throne.

For the condensed version of the play, the other characters create the circumstances, which propel Macbeth and Lady Macbeth towards their unavoidable end. One noteworthy performance is Jeff Smith as who plays Banquo, which after he is murdered, he appears as a ghost to Macbeth, which creates one of the most powerful and intense scenes of the play. Charles Frederick Secrease as Macduff and Jared Doreck as Malcolm both deliver performances of top-notch quality. Audiences will be amazed at how the traditional play is covered with such skill and intensity with such a condensed cast and running time.

“Macbeth” closes this Sunday, March 9, with the final two performances with curtains up at 3 and 7 pm. For ticket information, you can purchase them in person at the Main Street Theater Box Office, 2540 Times Blvd., via phone at 713-524-6706, or online at www.mainstreettheater.com. For additional information on upcoming shows, be sure to check out the “On Stage” tab at the MST home page.

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