Top positive review
14 people found this helpful
something wicked indeed
on March 22, 2006
Let me start by telling you what I don't like about this production. The costuming is annoying - a mixture of styles for no reason that is clear to me and to no particular effect. And that's it. Everything else about this production works beautifully.
Ian McKellan and Judy Dench are absolutely magnificent. Their slide into evil is absolutely convincing, the anguish it causes them is completely natural. All the ambition and cruelty that we expect are there, mingled with a tenderness and regret that are often missed by lesser actors. The supporting cast is all good, though not uniformly so; some are excellent, some merely good.
The witches are creepy in a repellant rather than a scary way. The supernatural elements of the play aren't played out with special effects, but rather take place in the minds of the characters. I think that works well - hags over cauldrons and gauze wearing ghosts get pretty cliched. Here the boundary between supernatural and madness is left completely blurred.
I expected the set design to be a negative - I'm not fond of dark and mostly empty sets. At first it bothered me, but later I found that I was focusing entirely on the actors and completely failing to notice the absence of detailed background. The darkness fits the mood of the play and makes everything that is there on stage stand out. The sets may be initially off-putting, but I think they're a wise and artistically sound approach.
In spite of the senseless costume design, this is a solid five.