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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Optimist Theatre's Classic 'Macbeth'

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Optimist Theatre welcomes the summer with an enjoyable production of Shakespeare's classic drama Macbeth. The outdoor staging on the campus of Alverno College moved along briskly on a crisp summer evening.

In the role of Macbeth, Tom Reed abandons a full range of emotional depth in favor of a far more malevolent approach from beginning to end. Thanks to careful attention to detail in the darkness of the character, Reed makes this approach work pretty well.

As Lady Macbeth, Marti Gobel goes through a more dramatic transformation. Gobel's emotional progression in the role of Lady Macbeth contrasts quite beautifully against Reed's more forceful energy.

The rest of the cast is populated by a diverse group of talents—and each one adds to the production. Not every element fits into perfect balance, but it is still fun to watch. James Pickering takes on three dramatically different roles. Michael Cotey is suitably charismatic as the heroic Malcolm. As usual, Cotey makes his lines feel fresh and original. Libby Amato and Liz Mistele share a charming moment as mother and son in the roles of Lady Macduff and Young Macduff, respectively.

Tim Linn executes a very stylish death scene in the role of Banquo. Fight director Joseph Manussier paints the stage with an elegant brutality—it won't be mistaken for realism, but it is dazzlingly stylish. That stylishness is also seen in the costume designing of Eleanor Cotey.

Optimist Theatre's production of Macbeth runs through July 1 at Alverno College's Alumnae Courtyard. For ticket information, visit optimisttheatre.org.