Shakespeare's darkest trip of butchery and regret gets haphazard treatment in this Northwest Classical Theatre Company production, which successfully plays up the spookiness of Macbeth but falls down in its tangled, seemingly tossed-together details. Credit director Butch Flowers for his attempts to add some flair to an oft-produced tragedy, but that doesn't mean the mess of costumes—cargo vests and combat boots one minute, newsboy caps or zip-up hoodies the next—or the inexplicable appearance of a Star Wars comic adds any depth. Still, the supernatural scenes prompt occasional goose bumps, thanks to sinister makeup and lighting, and the close quarters of the tiny Shoebox Theater make for some exhilarating fight scenes. As Macbeth, Jason Maniccia wears his insecurity on his sleeve as his ambitious wife urges him to kill the king and take the crown, fearfully wringing his hands as he descends into paranoia. Melissa Whitney is an intense Lady Macbeth, and she gives the audience chills when she calls on the gods to fill her with hate. "Make thick my blood," she says, kneeling under a red spotlight and clenching her fists until they turn white. But even Maniccia's and Whitney's sincere performances can't make up for the production's lack of focus—including jazzy music that plays between scenes—and other actors' slipshod delivery of Shakespeare's language. What should be a delicious horror story becomes a confusing parade of slaughters and screams.
SEE IT: Macbeth is at the Shoebox Theater, 2110 SE 10th Ave., 971-244-3740. 7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays and 2 pm Sundays through June 22. $20.