MACBETH, Mom and Dad Productions, at the Chopin Theatre. In this staging, the witches are not only the first characters onstage but the last to leave. Indeed, they're never wholly out of sight, and not just because of the extensive double casting in this Mom and Dad production. They lurk on the perimeter of the action throughout Shakespeare's tale of obsessive ambition; flickering candles signal their presence even when the witches themselves are hidden by semitransparent curtains. The cauldron scene is a real spectacle of eerie vocalization and frankincense fumes. And the witches' final words are a warning to us that their mischief is far from over.
But the show's classroom aura is plain despite these and other original ideas from director Joe Feliciano: live sound effects accompany the smallest stage business, and dinner guests each in turn assume the role of Banquo's ghost. Props and costumes appear to have been transferred wholesale from the Alley (except for patently wooden swords). And the acting ranges from a riveting portrayal of the Scottish gangbanger by Anthony M. Holmes (along with nice bits by Jamie Mayhew, J. Smith, and Feliciano) to recitations as stiff as the corpses reanimated by the Weird Sisters. Still, this uneven effort exhibits undeniable evidence of creative talent.
--Mary Shen Barnidge