Guy Oliver-Watts and Rebecca Reaney
in Macbeth
(Courtesy Aquila Theatre Company)
Guy Oliver-Watts and Rebecca Reaney
in Macbeth
(Courtesy Aquila Theatre Company)
The Aquila Theatre Company unfortunately is murdering Macbeth, now at The Gym at Judson, with a positively dull staging by director Desiree Sanchez that reduces even the play's most memorable moments to trifles.

Here, there's never a sense of urgency or that terrifying momentum of actions spiraling out of control far faster than can be grasped. That "vaulting ambition" -- the tragic flaw which makes Macbeth (Guy Oliver-Watts) go on a murderous rampage to become king, is simply never felt.

Equally problematic is the fake blood -- or lack of it. When Macbeth and Macduff storm Duncan's chambers to find him and his men dead, they return doused in a red, ultra shiny substance that brings to mind the effects of a low-budget horror film.

It's particularly noticeable because it's the only thing of color on the nearly bare stage. The costumes and minor furniture (chairs for the Banquo's ghost scene) are all shades of blandness; neither evokes period, style, or any expressive emotion.

More puzzling, though, is that in the final famous bloody battle, many are killed with no trace of blood. It's seems to suggest some men, in fact, do not bleed when you prick them.

What these men do, however, is overact. Oliver-Watts accents every syllable in the "sound and fury" soliloquy. Conversely, Rebecca Reaney as Lady Macbeth could use more intensity as she tries to rub away the blood on her hands that has stained her mind. Usually these perfect bits of dialogue elicit glee not yawns.

Indeed, how Aquila has managed to strip this great play of all its joys is a mystery and a grave disappointment for theater lovers.