Since the play is still in previews, there have been no "official" reviews as yet of the Shakespeare in the Park production of Macbeth. The bloggers' reviews have been mixed, and some have really blasted Jennifer Ehle's performance.
I saw it last night with 2 friends and 3 of my kids, and we all enjoyed it very much. Honestly, I thought Liev Schreiber was superb as Macbeth. He has a commanding stage presence and a fantastic voice. The play was an untraditional production, with the cast in modern era clothing. My daughter remarked that Liev Schreiber's clothes seemed to be more form fitting than the other men in the cast, and with very nice effect! (Oh dear, her mother's daughter?)
I am no expert on Shakespeare and this was the first time I've seen a stage production of Macbeth. My daughter is a high school English teacher and teaches the play, and it is her favorite, and she loved the production last night. The starting time of the play was deliberately moved back to 8:30 (generally the plays start at 8) because the director's thought is that Macbeth should be performed in the dark, and it really did have a dramatic effect on the play's atmosphere. The Burnham Wood scene, where the castle is laid under siege, is particularly effective, as the facade of the castle falls away to reveal the backdrop of Central Park's beautiful greenery, last night swaying in the breeze, and in the close distance, the view of Belvedere Castle, the "real" castle in Central Park, which is situated directly behind the stage of the Delacorte Theater!
When Jennifer Ehle first appeared on stage, my immediate thought was of how gorgeous she looked. My 17-year-old son pronounced her "mad hot." My second thought (blush) was that she was the lucky woman who got to play opposite Colin both in P&P and in real life!
If I have any criticism to make of her performance, it is that she was too glamorous a Lady Macbeth. Not "dark" enough, dressed in what appeared to be 30's-era clothing. My friend Janet said she played the role almost like an "ingenue," like she stepped out of the pages of Agatha Christie, and this morning I thought, "Cole Porter does Macbeth!" Still, I do not think she deserves the panning she has received from some of the bloggers. I really did love her interpretation of the "Out, damned spot" scene. She was wonderful to watch, and I think there was real chemistry between her and Liev in their scenes together.
It will be interesting to see what the reviewers have to say next week.
All in all, a solid, unique production, I really enjoyed sharing it with my kids, and a true "New York experience" under the stars in Central Park.
Unfortunately, no photographs allowed.
And another from Freckled Froggy;
Wednesday night I snagged a ticket to The Public Theatre's free production of the Scottish Play at Shakespeare in the Park. For those of you unfamiliar with why anyone in theatre calls it "the Scottish Play," click here for an excellent summary. Liev Schreiber plays the eponymous murderous man-who-would-be-king, with Jennifer Ehle (of the BBC's version of Pride & Prejudice) as his scheming wife. Not the best I've seen, but I was there on opening night. The director's (Moises Kaufman) choice to set the play in the 1940's (complete with fabulous swing music and costumes) was inspired. For those keeping track, Liev is as tall as moi. Happily content.