Experimental theater

Upper West Side

Until Sat Jul 14 2012

  • $$$$

Photograph: Manuel Harlan

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

2 / 5

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1 person listening

Not compelling and too often boring - too much irrelevant business that distracts from Shakespeare's narrative drive, long dead zones of silent pantomime (meant, I imagine, to suggest "Act/Scene" breaks but quite unnecessary and fidget-making), too subtle shades of difference between the star's many roles to clarify the drama, too large a space for Cumming's voice to project intelligibly, and too many barely-heard lines delivered with his back to the audience. The two supporting actors were miked, but not Mr. Cumming - I don't advocate miking, but I was in the third row Orchestra and heard no more than 75% of what he said (and probably did no better with the two miked actors): it wasn’t the Scottish accent, but the incompatibility of his vocal style and body position with the acoustics of the space. Also, the cuts from the original play magnified the confusion of the plot. I was checking my watch frequently from about 20 minutes into the 1:40 running time, aghast at how little time had passed each time I looked, and urging MacDuff's forces to get on with the business of ending it all. It wasn't all bad, and Mr. Cumming is undoubtedly a seductive actor who relishes the grand gesture, but this was a rather pretentious and pointless star vehicle that just didn't convince me on any level.