Hawke struts the board for a turn in 'The Scottish Play.'
Jack O'Brien's Macbeth has debuted at Broadway's Vivian Beaumont, giving Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke a chance to show off his lesser-known skill for Shakespearean stage acting as the titular, tormented thane. Critics have largely praised the dark and atmospheric production, yet the sensation that Hawke could have delved deeper into the tortured recesses of his character's psyche seems to be prevalent.
Ethan Hawke Shows His Versatility As An Actor In 'Macbeth' But Fails To Dig Deep.
The NY Times assesses the "dismal" yet "chic" production and concludes that Hawke is lacking. "Though best known as a movie star, Mr. Hawke has demonstrated his stage-worthiness [...] His is a mumblecore Macbeth [...] He delivers Shakespeare's poetry like a moody, glue-sniffing teenager reciting Leonard Cohen lyrics to himself," writes Ben Brantley.
The Chicago Tribute notes a certain "Game of Thrones [...] juicing up" albeit "gorgeously staged" but again finds fault in Hawke's lack of ambition: "His is a tragic hero without drive; a protagonist who forgets whose name is on the marquee; a reactive, overly inactive Macbeth, looking to slide into a role."
Indeed, though Hawke, known for his roles in Gattaca and Before Sunrise, may be a pull for audiences, it appears that the true theatrical power emanates from the three witches and their malevolent leader, Hecate. Played by Francesca Fariday, Hecate is described as "demented" and "in Lady Gaga gladrags" by the NY Times as she oversees the three sisters, here portrayed by men, in their scheming.
Francesca Fariday Plays A "Lady Gaga"-esque Hecate.
"The stars of this "Macbeth" are the supernatural creatures whose presence dominates," praises Newsday, with the Times adding that Malcolm Gets, John Glover and Byron Jennings' "sisters" are "played with down-and-dirty glee, and more than a touch of camp."
Having been cast as Lady Macbeth, Anne-Marie Duff is seen in Macbeth in her first Broadway role and "is as high strung as an overbred whippet." Her performance is said to give a "fuller exploration of the pleasures, as well as the pain, of stepping over people" than Hawke's comparatively emotionally muted Scottish warrior.
Anne-Marie Duff Makes Her Broadway Debut As Lady Macbeth.
"Hawke's reticence is especially out of place in a production so clearly committed to action," concludes The Chicago Tribune, whilst the NY Times gives a damning blow to the Hawke's performance, saying simply "I feel bad that this should be the Broadway debut for Ms. Duff."
Macbeth will be staged at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, until the 12th January 2014. Running time: 2 hours and 45 minutes.