Praiseworthy performance of 'Macbeth' offered by Colonial Players of Annapolis

March 22, 1996|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With "local Shakespeare," you know in advance there will be a drop-off in talent between the gifted few and the well-intentioned but less-seasoned many.

As the current Colonial Players of Annapolis presentation of "Macbeth" reminds us, this is most apparent in ensemble scenes where the poetic flow is compromised by the interplay of such unevenly matched characters and voices.

But, if I may mix words and plays, I come not to bury Colonial's "Macbeth" but to praise it.

For despite inevitable moments of turbulence in the talent pool, there was some remarkable acting, a lot of sure-handed direction and a succession of intensely drawn, downright spooky dramatic moments.

4 Phil Restivo attacks the title role with fervor.

I thought Macbeth's initial fears and misgivings were downplayed a bit, as were occasional moments of foreboding. (I craved more of that as the bells rang, for example.)

But Mr. Restivo is especially good in his angry anticipation of Banquo's death and also creates effective chemistry with his treacherous lady, played with equal parts imperiousness and erotic sizzle by Debbie Barber.

Truly, she is the straw that stirs the drink at Dunsinane.

Her ridicule "But I shame to wear a heart so white" stabs like the thrust of a stiletto, and when she finally loses her marbles in the theater's most famous mad scene, the results are more than a little frightening.

James Gallagher's Macduff is a virile presence who dwarfs everyone near him on stage. (Poor Malcolm!)

Also first-rate are Bryan Barrett as the ill-fated Duncan (how welcome is his authentic Scottish accent) and Kate Collins, who impresses in her brief, horrifying stint as Lady Macduff.

Director Carol Youmans has fashioned wonderfully ghoulish sequences with the witches.

Caldrons bubble, bizarre and exciting music underscores the action, and all three characters are beautifully done, save for the rather bland voice of Witch No. 1.

Banquo's ghost appears most ingeniously, and Macbeth's reaction to the specter is truly terrifying.

I only wish Steve Collins had made more of an impact in the scenes when Banquo was alive.

All in all, though, this was commendable Shakespeare.

A "Macbeth" full of sound and fury that signified plenty.

Pub Date: 3/22/96

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