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Theatre Review: Weird: The Witches of Macbeth at The Gladstone—until 02.09.19

By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier on February 2, 2019


By Samara Caplan and Laura Gauthier. Laura and Samara spend their days as non-profit unicorns and fill every spare minute exploring the world of musical theatre as BFFs (that’s Broadway Friends Forever).

Editor’s note: Weird: The Witches of Macbeth and #Faustus are on at the Gladstone—make it a double bill and save on your tickets. Check out Samara and Laura’s review of #Faustus here.

Photo: Arcturus

Samara: Laura, I’ve always wondered what happened on the sidelines of some of our favourite classic tales, especially after we saw a production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead based on Hamlet. So when I heard about this one I knew we had to check it out. In Weird: The Witches of Macbeth, we get to explore the story of the three witches that we never saw in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. To top it off, the actors really enhance ‘the Scottish play’ by floating, twisting and twirling through the air using aerial silks and muscle strength that most of us could only dream about.

Laura: Exactly—their strength and skills made me feel like I need to hit the gym! The aerials in this are impossible to describe—people really just need to go see it for themselves. It’s not just visually stunning, but the three actors use the acrobatics and the aerial silk as a story vehicle and it’s so impressive.

Samara: It opens on pretty barren staging, to just a simple, red aerial silk hanging vertically from the ceiling and a cloak-covered body at the base of the silk. The silks remain the only staging throughout the entire hour-long show. The simple staging and costumes surprisingly enhanced the aerial performances proving this show is anything but plain and ordinary. It was like Shakespeare and Cirque du Soleil defied time and space to have a love child.

The aerials in this are impossible to describe—people really just need to go see it for themselves.

Laura: Ha! I love that. The unique staging really does justice to their storytelling, allowing the audience to focus on the words and visuals of the aerial silks without clutter or distraction.

Samara: That’s right; the story follows the witches’ role in both the creation and the inevitable destruction of Macbeth in his role as king. It also mimics some things from the classic play from which it is spun off, by centering around the witches’ desire for power and control. The aerial routines throughout the show are often representative of struggle, turmoil, witchcraft and power. As each sister (played magnificently by Lindsay Bellaire, Lauren Fields and Emily Hughes) takes a turn partnering and interacting with the silks, and later in the show fighting against them, the strategic lighting shadows their movements filling the entire stage with powerful shapes and movement. I don’t know about you, but I was blown away.

Photo: Arcturus

Laura: For sure! The three women are stunning actors possessing dazzling athletic ability. They each really embodied different characteristics and attitudes, some providing a bit of comic relief, others providing angsty drive. I was really in awe of their performances—both acting-wise and their acrobatics. Don’t you think it meshed well with the story?

Samara: I did, actually. The plot not only enhanced the classic tale of Macbeth, while staying true to its core with well-known lines still showing up in the show (think “something wicked this way comes” and “double double toil and trouble”) but it also creates a new story that keeps the audience in tune from beginning to end.

Laura: Right. It’s not new to do an updated take on a classic, but adding in aerial silks that enhance the story is certainly new for me. I really loved this performance and recommend checking it out. There’s a reason this set records when it was at the Ottawa Fringe Festival and won the Best of Fest award in addition to other accolades on a small tour. Ottawa folks really need to see it and bring their friends—they won’t be disappointed. Plus, you can do the optional double bill with #Faustus, another fave Fringe Festival show that is being shown alongside this one.

Weird: The Witches of Macbeth continues at The Gladstone Theatre until Saturday, February 9th. Shows are Tuesday to Saturday at 9pm, Saturday matinee at 2:30pm. Discounted tickets are available if you wish to see it as part of a double bill with #Faustus. Tickets range between $23 to $33. The show runs 60 minutes with no intermission.