Review: ZJU’s MACBETH – Short and Sweet, Dark and Bloody

ZJU -  Macbeth

Amir Khalighi as Macbeth and Jason Britt as Macduff

Director Denise Devin knows how to set a mood. Her one-hour Shakespeare adaptations condense the Bard’s source material into compact, efficient theatre capsules that are perfect for those who want their Shakespeare short and sweet – or in this case, dark and bloody – with enough time left after the show to head out on the town.

This latest version of the Scottish play contains all of ZJU’s signature touches as Devin transforms the intimate space into an ephemeral black hole with 11 actors, 2 stationary black cubes, and an earthy costume design. 

ZJU - MacbethSomewhere in this murky existence a maniacal, mumbling Macbeth (Amir Khalighi) turns into a sneering king as his venomous dragon lady wife (Melissa Kite pictured right) melodramatically plots to elevate her husband to the throne. Murder is the game but the dead don’t always stay dead, and once a man betrays his own goodness, repayment is only a matter of time.

Images are dark and vivid. Three undead underwear-clad witches (Angela Robitaille, Jenny Gustavsson, and Arielle Davidsohn) writhe and whisper with slithering angularity and a startling apparition of Banquo (Brian Felsen) appears to disturb the king from the afterlife. Mark Hein’s Porter brings the laughs.

Facility with the text varies among cast members but the fight scenes are intense and the ensemble’s commitment to creating a memorable experience is resolute. Plus, it’s Shakespeare in an hour. Who doesn’t have time for that?

Ellen Dostal
Shakespeare in LA

MACBETH
April 24 – May 31, 2015
Fridays at 8:30 pm and Sundays at 7:00 pm
Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group
4850 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
Tickets are $15: Call (818) 202-4120 or Click Here
Zombiejoes.com

All photos courtesy of Zombie Joe’s Underground

ZJU - Macbeth

Top, L-R: Chandler Hudson, Jason Britt (masked), Brian Felsen, Jonica Patella, Mark Hein. Bottom: Arielle Davidsohn, Angela Robitaille, Melissa Kite, Amir Khalighi, Jenny Gustavsson, Hillary Freedman.

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