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  • Theater, Shakespeare
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Macbeth: Theater review by Raven Snook

Just as three voodoo-masked witches tantalized Macbeth (Ty Jones) with predictions of his ascension, a stray black cat skittered in front of the stage—the perfect metaphor for the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s swift and scrappy alfresco staging of the Scottish play. Jones (CTH’s Producing Artistic Director) and Roslyn Ruff previously portrayed the power-hungry duo a dozen years ago for the company in one of the most bone-chilling Macbeths I’ve ever experienced. Director Carl Cofield’s approach is less bloody and bold, but it’s still frequently spine-tingling, and the way these savvy performers elucidate the language is consistently thrilling.

Set in 20th-century Ethiopia—implied by Rachel Dozier-Ezell’s smashing militarist costumes, Tiffany Rea-Fisher’s African-infused choreography and a percussion-heavy onstage band—this one-act truncation speeds by. Familiarity with the story helps though all of the celebrated soliloquies are there, with Ruff’s climactic sleepwalking speech and Jones’s spirit-fueled breakdown particularly effective. There are quibbles: The porter cracks obvious Trump jokes and the weird sisters are visually eerie yet vocally garbled. But like the best campfire ghost stories, this multicultural Macbeth delivers goose bumps.—Raven Snook

Richard Rodgers Amphitheater (Off-Off Broadway). By William Shakespeare. Directd by Carl Cofield. With Ty Jones, Roslyn Ruff. Running time: 1hr 40mins. No intermission.


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