If you live in DC, I highly recommend that you get yourself over to the Folger and buy a ticket for the MacBeth which is running through sometime in April. The thing is as accessible as a movie and as powerful as, well, a Shakespearean tragedy. The casting is slightly uneven--in particular, Kate Eastwood Norris' Lady MacBeth is way over the top for a role I didn't think could be played too crazy. I like me some scenery-chewing, but her borderline hysteria from moment one makes it impossible to believe that MacBeth would have listened too her. However, Ian Merrill Peakes is terrific as MacBeth--not so much in the way he says his lines as in the way his body powerfully conveys what is going on when he isn't speaking. And Dan Olmstead is absolutely outstanding as (among other things) Duncan.

And you won't care about any casting lapses, because it's simply the best staging of a Shakespeare play I've ever seen, and the style of the Folger Theater, which is modeled on the Elizabethan, makes it even more powerful. Every detail is absolutely spot-on. The set is spare, and almost modernistic, but crawling with metal vines that perfectly evoke the rot at Dunsinane. The costumes are good, the stage direction is brilliant, and the score--provided by an onstage percussionist who is visible to the audience--provides nearly unbearable dramatic tension. At one point, a particularly wrenching noise caused me to throw my pen and notebook into the air. There's plenty of fake blood. And the comedic moments are pitch-perfect. The three weird sisters alone are worth the price of admission.

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