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|A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
By Jana J. Monji
The Troubadour Theater Company again attacks Shakespeare with the zeal of Kenneth Branagh; that is if Branagh had attended clowning school instead of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. The Troubadors hilarious skewering of the bard's Scottish play, Fleetwood Macbeth, follows in the tradition of their Spamlet, Shrew!, Clowns Labours Lost, Twelfth Dog Night, A Midsummer Saturday Night Dream, Romeo Hall & Juliet Oates and All's Kool That Ends Kool.
Having been through the Bee Gees and disco mania; Daryl Hall and John Oates and 1980s soft pop fashion, and Kool and the Gang and the funk disco dress code, the company now interpret the pseudo gypsy fashions of Fleetwood Mac. Yet they firmly acknowledge the setting as Scotland -- in their demented minds a place where the inhabitants are only one tiny step above the Neanderthals.
Most of the actors sport bad-hair-day wigs and ragged kilts, all of the cast clomp around in over-sized plastic feet and the men's "weapons of mass destruction" are plastic clubs made to look like bones, some with a little flesh still clinging on so the club wielder can have a mid-scene snack. A few cast members attempt to mimic the "bloody, godawful" Scottish brogue.
Charles Klausmeyer plays King Duncan with lordly long white hair and beard and the more refined cadence of a Sean Connery accent. Among the many other celebrity references we have Harriet Potter and Martha Stewart as witches (but without any attempt is made to imitate in appearance or manner).
. While Fleetwood Macbeth differs greatly from Rick Miller's MacHomer (Our Review) which, for the most part, stuck to the bard's storyline and limited the voices utilized to characters who had appeared on The Simpsons, both shows feature more than three witches. Miller had only three witches per scene, but would switch around the Simpson characters played the witches. In Fleetwood Macbeth, the additional witches are more in keeping with the old musical tradition of a chorus line of girls. Despite the bustiers, this coven of chorus girls doesn't flaunt sex appeal -- not with accessories that include big plastic feet and a few pseudo severed limbs.
Morgan Rusler's Macbeth is a slightly dim-witted soul in an ill-fitting green kilt. His main rival for the throne, Duncan's son, Malcolm (Guilford Adams), is a blonde who is pretty in pink and has Siegfried and Roy fantasies but with more lisp and swish in his mannerisms. Guillermo Robles portrays the heroic MacDuff as a homie-- a Latino who wears his sunglasses at night and his East Los Angeles accent like a medal of honor.
Director Matt Walker (who plays the ill-fated Banquo) continues the tradition of loose directions and an even looser interpretation of the text. The time frame jumps haphazardly between a caveman-like Scotland, Fleetwood Mac's 1970s and '80s heyday and current-day events, (i.e. the usage of phrases such as "collateral damage"). The text needed tinkering for the sake of the musical element but with Lisa Valenzuela channeling Stevie Nicks for her Lady Macbeth, how are you going to insert a few more musical numbers after Lady Macbeth commits suicide?
laughing at yesteryear's fashion and today's political situation without really getting political. Their only vision is to make their family audience laugh and they do even if they go pretty low to succeed.
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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