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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  NY Theater Reviews

at BAM -Harvey Theater

By Matt Windman

   Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood/PH: Tristram Kenton

In his iconic roles of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation or Professor Xavier in X-Men, Patrick Stewart struck us as a confident, trustworthy kind of leader. But in Rupert Goold's production of The Scottish Play,which just transferred to BAM from London, Stewart takes a 180-degree turn in terms of personality.


Once the title character hears from those three witches that he supposedly has a big future as king on the horizon, he is planted with a seed of ambition that will rock and shock his personality and conscience.


As a result, theatergoers are likely to have mixed reactions to manic, high-reaching Stewart's performance as the bloody tyrant. We are so used to seeing him play a calmer kind of character that any high-energy deviation strikes us as histrionics and overacting.


And to make matters worse, Stewart, at 67, is way too old to play Macbeth, who is supposed to be a formidable soldier. But in spite of these qualms, Stewart does deliver a committed, mostly compelling performance. And Kate Fleetwood uses her fair, gorgeous complexion to her advantage as Lady Macbeth, conveying an icy cold matriarchal version of Snow White.


This production sets the entire play in what appears to be an industrial kitchen - complete with iron refrigerator, brick tile, low-hanging lights and an elevator. The costumes convey a 1950s Soviet military theme. When Macbeth is crowned king, we see video imagery of mass military demonstrations.


Goold adds quite a lot to the play - in fact, far too much. Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy, but here it's over three hours long. He did, however, make one particularly fantastic addition.


Goold ends Act One with Banquo coming down the elevator, then walking on top of the table toward Macbeth as images of blood cover the white walls. Blackout. Then at the top of Act Two, we relive the same scene, except we only see Macbeth's reaction.



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