By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Kitchen Dog's Macbeth takes the Scottish play out of kilts and puts its Thanes in black mufti and berets, like members of the Symbionese Liberation Army that abducted Patty Hearst. The script, already Shakespeare's shortest, has been sliced and diced and shuffled and stomped on till it's nearly impossible to follow the murderous intrigues of the power-grabbing Mackers (Christopher Carlos, Christina Vela) and their dinner party from hell.
Director Matthew Gray has let a goofy concept trump simple storytelling. (The back wall is emblazoned with graffiti-like images that decode as "king me." Yeah, we get it already.) Gray keeps the nine-member cast on forced march across the high platform stage and up two sets of stairs into catwalks in the balcony. But motion isn't the same as action and the production falls into numbingly static rhythms.
And there's this: After many scenes involving the carefully choreographed clanging of steel swords as the clans battle for the throne of Scotland, suddenly one of the murderers does the Indiana Jones stunt of pulling out a gun and blowing a sword-wielding enemy to smithereens.
Shakespeare with guns. Put some sidearms and rifles in Hamlet, the Henry plays and Julius Caesar and you could cut hours off these babies.