Culture Magazine

Review: Macbeth (Goat Song Theatre)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat


Review: Macbeth (Goat Song Theatre)


Written by William Shakespeare 
Directed by Brian Conley
at Red Tape Theatre, 621 W. Belmont (map)
thru July 31  |  tickets: $20  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
   Read entire review



Cohesion, vision needed for this perennial crowd-pleaser


Review: Macbeth (Goat Song Theatre)

Goat Song Theatre presents



Review by Dan Jakes

More so than with any other playwright, there is an exciting number of creative options a theater company can explore when staging a Shakespearean play. With the Bard, there are no short-story-length stage directions to abide by, no bogeyman estate for directors to fear, and no budget-killing licensing fees to pony up. Lump those liberating absences on top of the dramas’ multi-faceted interwoven themes, and you’ll see that all the components are in place for unlimited conceptual and practical choices.

So long as you choose to make one. Goat Song Theatre doesn’t.

Marred by basic execution hurdles and a lack of apparent vision, Director Brian Conley’s Macbeth aims for perfunctory and falls short at mundane.

That’s not an adjective normally ascribed to the Scottish king’s story of murder and mysticism. Macbeth, for good reason, is a perennial crowd-pleaser, with its quick paced action and high stakes. Even Red Tape’s performance space located within St. Peter’s Episcopal Church–an eerie gymnasium with fenced off windows and peeling paint–beckons to be used for thrilling theater. One after the other, though, opportunities go missed in favor of half-heartedly delivered conventions. The play’s magic elements are given especially short shrift. Witches Katherine Lamb, Katherine Biskupic, and Brigid Ronan are given little opportunity to prove themselves as supernatural or menacing. Together, walking in circles and occasionally brooding over a lamp, they conjure all the horror of a Brownie peering over a flashlight. Nothing dictates that the Scottish Play has to be spectacle-driven, but without anything to elevate extraordinary moments, it’s impossible to identify significant character shifts. Likewise, the title anti-hero’s guilty hallucinations (or visions, though no choice is clear on that either) are signified only through some pointing and raised eyebrows.

Barely-there design elements force actors to tell the story with only their performance. The result of that limitation can make inspiring theater, but only if everyone is acting in the same play. Stylistically, Goat Song’s ensemble is all over the map. As Lady Macbeth, Kristen Danko opts for the traditional larger-than-life opera house villainess, while others appear to be waiting for their close-up–a few would require mics to be heard. Nathan Thompson (Macbeth) and Charles Askenaizer (Banquo, hinting at some presence of a leading man) play it somewhere down the middle. Casts require cohesion and a director’s hand to form a convincing ensemble. Elements that did manage to make it to production undercut the play’s tone, from the literal and silly branches hiding Malcom’s army to the bloodied mannequin head artlessly carried in to signify the protagonist’s demise. Someone behind this production cared for Macbeth’s story. If only they shared his ambition.


Rating: ★½


Review: Macbeth (Goat Song Theatre)

Goat Song Theatre’s Macbeth continues through July 31st at the Red Tape Theatre space, 621 W. Belmont (map). Tickets are $20 at the door (cash only). More information here.




Charles Askenaizer (Banquo), Katherine Biscuit (2nd Witch, 2nd Murderer), Glenn Bush (Ross), Kristen Danko (Lady Macbeth), Katherine Lamb (1st Witch, Gentlewoman), Brett Meslar (Malcolm), Nick Perry (Lennox), Howard Raik (Duncan, Doctor), Brigid Ronan (3rd Witch, Lady Macduff), Jack Sharkey (Macduff), Nathan Thompson (Macbeth), Seth Wanta (Sergeant, Porter, Murderer, Seyton)

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey Review

    When I first heard about Black Feather American Bourbon Whiskey I dismissed it as a nothing more than a branding stunt put together by a couple of extreme sport... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Josh Peters
  • 7 Best Xbox One Emulator for Windows PC [Xbox Games on PC] 2018

    Have you ever wondered how you could play video games from gaming consoles to your PC? Atari, an arcade gaming company released the first video gaming console,... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Meet Rv
  • Cottage - I Belong in a Crofter's Cottage

    Cottage Belong Crofter's

    Isle of Barra There’s something very appealing about escaping to a crofter’s cottage in the north of Scotland. It is good for me to break away from the rat... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ashleylister
  • Help Me Celebrate!

    Help Celebrate!

    by NinaTomorrow is the 7th anniversary of the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog. Whoa, it's actually hard for me to believe it. When I started the blog seven years ag... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Ninazolotow
  • Spoiler Alert | The CW Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    Spoiler Alert Releases More ‘Arrow’ Premiere Images

    “Green is the new black.” – Stephen Amell More photos from Arrow’s season 7 premiere episode, titled Inmate #4587, have been released, and these are all about... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Entertainmentjolt
  • Disrupt Facebook!

    Disrupt Facebook!

    A business model is a plan for the successful operation of a business, identifying sources of revenue, the intended customer base, products, and details of... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Thinkibility
  • Carolina Strong & Have You Marked Yourself Safe?

    Carolina Strong Have Marked Yourself Safe?

    Still getting through Hurricane Florence here in the Carolinas. While I live in central NC, we have had our share of flooding, trees down, power outages and yes... Read more

    The 18 September 2018 by   Midlifemargaritas