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Macbeth Re-Arisen (Zombie Macbeth)
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"Friends, Scotsman, Zombie Mignons..." Such was Macbeth's call to action as he and his wife plotted to kill MacDuff and conquer the world, in this sequel to the Shakespearean tragedy.

Thanks to APM for the tip-off about White Whale Theatre's production of Macbeth Re-Arisen - a zombie sequel to Macbeth, picking up where Shakespeare left off.

I got to see the play on Sunday (final night) and it was awesome. I commented to someone that "it had to happen eventually", but it's entirely possible that no one else has thought of making a sequel to Macbeth, let alone an undead sequel in iambic pentameter.

The fight direction, special effects and bloodwork were excellent, spoiled only by the woman next to me who kept saying "that's awful" during the gory bits, and who appeared to be a relative of a cast member with no understanding of theatre etiquette. After she said "hello Ross" to one of the actors during a scene in our corner, she looked all embarrassed, but came back during Act 2 with some admonishment for the zombie that polished him off.

But I digress. It was a bloody play, and I have the blood stains to prove it, having been right in splattering range for one scene. The first death was the most memorable, with Macbeth plunging his hand through someone's body and ripping out his heart. Add in an ancient weapon called a chainsaw and rousing chants of "braaaains!" and you have a rip-roaring good time.

Not that I'm a zombie fan myself, but it was fun seeing what the writer/director has done with Shakespeare's story and characters in this tragi-comedy.

"Kiss me on my undead lips," urges Lady Macbeth when reunited with her husband. The three witches have raised Macbeth from the dead to do Hecate's bidding and conquer Scotland, and he thinks to repeat the spell on Lady Macbeth, who true to form eggs him on, saying they should conquer the world. If only she could get rid of that damn spot...

The story of the impetuous and precocious King Fleance was also good fun, as were the self-referential jokes. Macbeth at one point listened to a soldier or someone reciting his (Macbeth's) soliloquy, then proceeded to rip out the man's brains when he started to embellish and borrow from other Shakespearean characters.

The makeup (especially Macbeth's severed neck), costumes and set design were all excellent. Big applause for the final night, sold-out show, and the crew were holding up signs for the cast; one was "well done" and another "Macbeth: got head?"... Love it.

Then it was off to get gelati, but no one commented on the blood stains. Oh well...

[See also: review in Australian Stage]

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