The Internet Theater Magazine of Reviews, Features, Annotated Listings







Etcetera and
Short Term Listings


NYC Restaurants


New Jersey







Free Updates
A CurtainUp Review

Double, double toil and trouble; /Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. .— The Three Witches
Rob Campbell as Macbeth and Jennifer Ikeda as his wife (Photo: Joan Marcus)
The Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare Unit is doubling its productions this season with its wild and wooly version of Macbeth. Following its spring tour to correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and community centers throughout the five boroughs, it lands at their downtown home at Astor Place for a brief sit-down run.

Celebrating its fifth year of bringing free Shakespeare to New York's most marginalized persons this tour greatly benefits from having many veteran Mobile Shakespeare Unit performers on board. The cast is lead by Rob Campbell as the Thane who. Campbell, who also performed the duplicitous Angelo in the Mobile Unit's Measure for Measure, now gets his chance to play the soldier-hero who self-destructs and morphs into the scourge of Scotland. Teamed up with thespian Jennifer Ikeda as his partner in crime, the stage couple lose no time in plotting, planning, and executing Duncan's (Daniel Pearce) murder in their power-grab for the throne.

Other actors weigh in with excellent performances. Keith Eric Chappelle deftly slips into Banquo's skin—and other characters. Chappelle's Banquo serves as a fine foil to the go-getter Macbeth with his more deliberating manner and itch to fathom the ambiguous predictions of the three Witches. Ikeda (again), Nicole Lewis, and Teresa Avia Lim play the Weird Sisters (No Hecate in this production!) in knit helmets with a ghoulish air and balletic grace. They seem to materialize out of nowhere, but one can spot them, sooner or later, atop one of the three weathered trunks of the no-frills set design by Wilson Chin. James Udom plays Duncan's son Malcolm with a boyish skittishness early on that ripens into a grounded confidence at play's close.

To counterpoint all the doom and gloom, Nick Mills plays the bibulous Porter in vaudevillian-style. He temporarily transforms the stage into a kind of circus act. He alternately sits, straddles, and climbs in and out of one the nearby trunks at will. Then, with charming legerdemain, he pulls a wine jug out of the hidden depths of one chest, all the while delivering his famous speech about those who go the primrose path to the everlasting bonfire. Yes, tragedy and comedy go hand-in-hand in this very inventive Macbeth.

As helmed by Edward Torres, the production is in continual fast-forward mode. Torres conflates the play by omitting scenes and characters while ratcheting up the violence and blood. It begins with the bloody battlefield scene and wraps up with Macbeth's decapitated head in a burlap sack at center stage. No, there's not much scratching beneath the play's surface to delve into the supernatural elements or explore Macbeth's awakening conscience and his deteriorating psychological state. But one will never be bored watching this eight-member troupe as they traverse the performing space which is spiced up by a colorful carpet bearing Macbeth's name.

Who said you need special effects and grand decor to pull off Shakespeare? This troupe proves that pluck and imagination are more than enough to deliver the Scottish play's dramatic goods. The performers don't appear the least self-conscious as they speak the verse.

Though I've heard the play's soliloquies and set pieces done with more finesse, this corps clinches Shakespeare's language with sheer bravura. The Public has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. But the Shakespeare Mobile Unit succeeds by reaching back and redefining its visionary founder Joe Papp's mission of bringing Shakespeare to the masses.

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Edward Torres
Cast: Rob Campbell (Macbeth, Third Murderer); Keith Eric Chappelle (Banquo, Bloody Sargeant); Jennifer Ikeda (Lady Macbeth, First Witch); Nicole Lewis (Lady Macduff, Second Witch); Teresa Avia Lim (Third Witch, Lennox); Nick Mills (Porter, Ross); Daniel Pearce (Macduff, Duncan); and James Udom (Malcolm, Old Man).
Sets: Wilson Chin
Costumes: Amanda Seymour
Composer: Michael Thurber
Stage Manager: Kristen Gibbs
The Public Theater at 425 Lafayette Street, Manhattan. Tickets: $20. Phone 212/967-7555. For more information, visit
From 5/17/15; opening 5/20/15; closing 6/07/15.
Tuesday through Sunday @ 7pm. Matinees on Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.
Running time: 90 minutes with no intermission
Reviewed by Deirdre Donovan based on press performance of 5/18/15
Highlight one of the responses below and click "copy" or"CTRL+C"
  • I agree with the review of Macbeth
  • I disagree with the review of Macbeth
  • The review made me eager to see Macbeth
Click on the address link E-mail:
Paste the highlighted text into the subject line (CTRL+ V):

Feel free to add detailed comments in the body of the email. . .also the names and emails of any friends to whom you'd like us to forward a copy of this review.

For a feed to reviews and features as they are posted add to your reader
Curtainup at Facebook . . . Curtainup at Twitter
Subscribe to our FREE email updates: E-mail:
put SUBSCRIBE CURTAINUP EMAIL UPDATE in the subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the message. If you can spare a minute, tell us how you came to CurtainUp and from what part of the country.
The New Similes Dictionary
New Similes Dictionary

Slings & Arrows  cover of  new Blu-Ray cover
Slings & Arrows- view 1st episode free

Book Of Mormon MP4 Book of Mormon -CD
Our review of the show

©Copyright 2015, Elyse Sommer.
Information from this site may not be reproduced in print or online without specific permission from