Cast tries too hard in Insurgo’s dull ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’

Insurgo’s period-mixed "The Tragedy of Macbeth" comes across as a traditional, dull classroom exercise for one of two simple reasons: Either the cast members are not ready for the demands of this play, or director John Morris didn’t have the time to coach them.

Geo Nikols, in the title role, doesn’t begin to suggest a man who will stop at nothing to gain power. He seems to go after the crown just to amuse himself. (To be fair, Nikols stepped into the role 10 days before opening.)

Nikols’ lack of presence dumps the play into Lady Macbeth’s lap, and, luckily, actress Maythinee Washington is up to the challenge. Washington communicates the ruthlessness of this ambitious woman and dominates the stage. You always want to watch her. Morris, though, hasn’t given enough angles to her character. We don’t see the transitions in which she slowly goes mad.

Gary Lunn brings a genuine sense of regality to the doomed king Duncan. The three witches (Tressa Breene, Susan Breene and Nicole Unger) who predict Macbeth’s rise and fall seem talented but are directed as generic creatures straight out of Chiller Theatre. The rest of the cast tries too hard to act.

There’s lots of yelling throughout the evening, but you rarely get the feeling anyone understands in their gut what they’re yelling about. And that makes Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy seem a hell of a lot longer than it is.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at vegastheaterchat @aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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