Theater review: ‘Macbeezy’ at the Knightsbridge
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There’s very little not to love about “Macbeezy” at the Knightsbridge. This “hip-hopera,” which sets “Macbeth” to hip-hop music, brims with youthful brio while staying remarkably faithful to its source material.
Sometimes, that devotion to the original text is a bit slavish, resulting in an overlong evening that could stand a little pruning. (After all, if you’re going to be this revisionist, you might as well really kick over the traces and truncate at will.) And, granted, a few of the voices in the cast are less than stellar. But, like a frolicking puppy, “Macbeezy” is so energetic, it’s completely endearing –- even when it misses the paper.
Kelly Boczek-Petrie created the show with her husband, Mark Petrie, who serves as music arranger and music director. However, Boczek-Petrie wears many hats, as the show’s writer, costume designer and director.
The music is upbeat and toe-tapping, but it is Boczek-Petrie’s direction that is most impressive. When it comes to large ensembles in sub-99 seat Los Angeles theater, it’s usually a given that some of the supernumeraries will be sub-par. Yet Boczek-Petrie has performed the near miraculous feat of delineating every character, from the excellent Macbeezy (Tony Williams) and the outstanding Lady M (Michelle Merring) to the smaller roles. Every role, large to small, serves the basic conceit, no attention grabbing or cheap mugging allowed.
All the actors are terrific, and all are richly worthy of mention. The three sultry witches, Barika Croom, Cai Handley and Elisa Richardson, give new meaning to the word “slinky.” Mackie D’s (Stuart Calof) homoerotic interaction with the flamboyant Malcolm (René Guerrero) is a pure hoot. Others in the cast include Julia Morizawa, Vance Roi Reyes, R. Benito Cardenas, Khalipa Oldjohn, Shaina Vorspan, Arif Kinchen, Allana Barton, Kenzo Lee, Gina Lohman, Courtney Richards, Tomás Quiroz, Elizabeth Yocam and Ben Hayes. The fun is further enhanced by Michele Wolfson’s lively choreography, which puts a stratospheric hop in this very hip show.
-- F. Kathleen Foley
“Macbeezy,” Knightsbridge Theatre, 1944 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles. 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 6 p.m. Sundays. Ends Nov. 21. $20. (323) 667-0955. www.knightsbridgetheatre.com. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes.