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Arts and Entertainment

Blood, Guts, and Battle Scenes in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Lauren Parkinson, Nicole Fabbri, and Lana Inderman in Macbeth. (Photo by Amanda Marquardt)

Lauren Parkinson, Nicole Fabbri, and Lana Inderman in Macbeth. (Photo by Amanda Marquardt)
Amanda Marquardt's minimalist adaptation of Macbeth is a fast-paced, late-night adrenaline-raising rush of gore, seductiveness, and quirky, dark-humored fun. The show is energetic, engaging, and perfectly contextualized within the underbelly of the Los Angeles theatre scene at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group. The production is bare bones, highlighting skilled performance and fight choreography.The cast does not fit the plasticized images common to local theatres. Instead, they are raw, sweaty, and gracefully human.

Marquardt initially captures audience attention with a stylish and eerie weird sisters opening. Performance intensity ebbs immediately, but by the time Lady Macbeth makes her first entree to the stage to plot the murder of Duncan (liberally and appreciatively interpreted as a queen and performed by Carol Wilson), the play has already begun its ascension into a cackle-laden flurry of plaid, political disruption, and mental instability.

Aaron Lyons and Skye Noel are ideal leads as Thane and Lady Macbeth. Lyons is course and exacting, using voice and brow to slowly chip away at Macbeth’s sanity. Noel appears fragile and unassuming, but is commanding, attentive, and has piercing resonance. When together on stage, there is undeniable chemistry between the pair.

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The sinister characterizations portrayed by Lyons and Noel are well balanced by Douglas Roegiers who powerfully plays antagonist and moral high voice in role of Macduff. He is passionate, overtly masculine, and emotionally moving. Roegier’s voice mournfully fills the theatre with charged grief, drawing guilty sympathy out of the battle-hungry audience. Similarly, Peter Schuyler is a grounding force as Porter. He is funny, impressively subtle, and beyond endearing. Verse thoughtfully and naturally wafts out of Schuyler as a cool current of voice; as if iambic pentameter were his native dialect.

Aestetically, the three witches fall somewhere between the disturbing stillness of A Clockwork Orange and the delicate creepiness of Japanese horror flicks. Lead witch Lauren Parkinson is delightfully vile and discomforting as she drives scenes drenched with twisted oddities and contorted camp. Nicole Fabbri and Lana Inderman flank Parkinson to the effect of a three ring circus of mangled filth and morbid humor.

Macbeth is playing at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group at 4850 Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood until September 24, 2010. Tickets are $15. Reservations can be made via phone by calling 818-202-4120.