Mission Theatre presents invigorating, uneven Macbeth

Mission Theatre Company's Macbeth may not be the most polished production of Shakespeare's bloody tragedy you will ever see, but it certainly leaves an impression.

This is a bold interpretation, centered on the expressive direction of Penelope Parsons-Lord and a terrific performance from Michael Kelley as the Scot. It falters mainly when the focus drifts from Macbeth and his immediate surroundings, as some of the performances aren't able to maintain the energy of the leads.

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The first 45 minutes are a tense ride. In fact, the sense of unease stretches even before the action begins. The three Weird Sisters are onstage from the moment the doors open, impassive as statues. They remain a steady presence throughout, watching silently as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth tighten the noose around their necks with their murderous actions.

The opening intensity carries up through the murder of King Duncan. After that, the story begins to split its focus, and these characters aren't as interesting as the host and hostess of the year. The performances also weaken the further you get from the center. Kelley is excellent, playing Macbeth pitched one step from madness, as driven round the bend by the predictions of glory that have been given to him.

Amy Vickory nearly matches him as Lady Macbeth, giving the show an extremely solid core. Craig Fernholz as Banquo and Meagan Kedrowski as Macduff (there is quite a bit of cross casting in this production) are also quite good. Beyond that... it seems like others in the company are working harder to just get their lines out clearly (a good thing) than building solid characters.

Still, there is a lot of fire here, from the off-kilter horror-film atmosphere of the Weird Sisters' realm to the final confrontation between Macbeth and Macduff, which plays out as a brutal fight that is finally ended by a well-placed piece of concrete.


Through May 24
Minneapolis Theatre Garage
711 W. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis
$20-40 (sliding scale)
For tickets and more information, call 612.234.7168 or visit online.