Is It Time To Recognize Macbeth's Alan Cumming As A Theatre Great? [Pictures]

Tony and Olivier Award winning Alan Cumming stars in a new Broadway production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which has garnered strong reviews following its opening show at the Barrymore Theatre. The supporting cast includes Jenny Sterlin and Brendan Titley, though critics focused the majority of their praise for Cumming, star of 'Cabaret' and 'The Good Wife.'

Directed by John Tiffany, himself a Tony winner for 'Once' and Andrew Goldberg, The National Theatre of Scotland's Macbeth is set in a clinical room deep within a dark psychiatric unit. This is not a straight retelling of Shakespeare's masterpiece. Cumming plays the lone patient, reliving the infamous story and inhabiting each of the roles himself. Orwellian camera watch the patient's every move, while the technical aspects of the show see the walls of the psychiatric ward come to the life in a visually stunning experience. 

The New York Times' Charles Isherwood was among those praising Cumming's considerable ability, writing, "Watching him perform this personalized rendition of "Macbeth," I was at times more intrigued by the battle going on between the serious actor and the shameless entertainer than I was by the tense struggles taking place in the divided mind of Macbeth." Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press agreed, saying, "If it's not clear by now, what Cumming is doing at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre is delivering a tour-de-force that redefines the term...While there is no doubt about Cumming's ability - he cowers, he acts menacing, he strips down, he leaps in and out of a full bathtub and smears himself in gore - there is a feeling that while this is an act of Olympic skill, it's also partly a freak show."

Alan Cumming MacbethAlan Cumming At The First Performance of 'Macbeth'

Mark Fisher of Variety continued the praise, writing, "such are Cumming's gifts as an actor, we also get an uncommonly rich reading of the play. Using the most subtle shifts in register, gait and dress, he switches seamlessly from character to character."

Macbeth, starring Alan Cumming, is playing at the Barrymore Theatre in New York until June 20, 2013.

Alan CummingAlan Cumming At The Macbeth Afterparty This Week, Complete With Kilt


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