There has been lots of buzz about the monumental production of Macbeth, currently playing through June 22 at the Park Avenue Armory. And that includes its hefty price tag. At $350, it’s giving The Book of Mormon scalpers a run for their money. This bloody tale of lust and power takes an epic turn under the roof of the 55,000-square-foot drill hall. You’ll feel like you’ve ascended upon Stonehenge, but that’s just the beginning.
Commissioned and produced by Park Avenue Armory and Manchester International Festival, this Macbeth is staggering in scope. With Kenneth Branagh in the title role and Alex Kingston as his wild-haired partner-in-crime, the stage is set for a two-hour immersive experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Branagh, who co-directed the production with Rob Ashford (Evita, Thoroughly Modern Millie) is an interesting Macbeth. At times pensive and at other times a warrior, it’s as if he is swept in the undercurrent of Lady Macbeth’s manipulations, visions of witches and the deep-seeded desire for power. The ensemble of 26 actors trudge their way through the muddy mosh pit, wielding swords, cackling like newly pubescent witches and creating all the histrionics one might expect from one of Shakespeare’s most accessible tragedies.
Ultimately, is this Macbeth worth $350? Well, if you’ve got the cash to spare, sure. Insider tip: consider saving up and planning a trip to Manchester International Festival’s next bi-annual extravaganza July 2-9, 2015, where you can be the first to witness similar theatrical endeavors in their place of origin at a more accessible price.