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Stage Review

Macbeth (2013)

MACBETH Ethan Hawke
Image credit: T. Charles Erickson
MACBETH Ethan Hawke
EW's GRADE
B-

Details Opening Date: Nov 21, 2013; Lead Performances: Anne-Marie Duff and Ethan Hawke; Writer: William Shakespeare; Director: Jack O'Brien; Genres: Drama, Revival

It's all about the witches in Lincoln Center Theater's new revival of Macbeth. The Weird Sisters — the craggy all-male trio of Malcolm Gets, John Glover, and Byron Jennings — pull all the strings, popping up in minor roles and causing toil and trouble at every turn. Head witch Hecate (a fabulous Francesca Faridany) — styled as some brilliantly bizarre cross between Medusa and Cruella de Vil — even gets high with Macbeth (Ethan Hawke). When you're smoking funny stuff with a bunch of ''secret black and midnight hags,'' you know you're in too deep.

Though his scruffy, still-boyish looks suggest the prototypical Hamlet, Hawke makes a very convincing (and wonderfully sleazy) Scottish king. And as Macbeth gains power, so does the actor. As Lady Macbeth, the sleepwalking, hand-washing, regicide-plotting woman behind the man, English actress Anne-Marie Duff maintains a delicate balance between imperious and docile, sexy and demoralizing.

But director Jack O'Brien's stylish production — see Catherine Zuber's uber-trendy military-chic costumes — practically comes to a grinding halt when the pious Macduff (Graceland's Daniel Sunjata) and heir-to-the-throne Malcolm (Jonny Orsini) begin plotting their takedown of Macbeth. Sunjata overdoes every line he speaks, and Orsini is overwhelmed by the speech. The good news: After that slog of a scene comes Duff's ''out, damned spot'' moment — a spellbinding slice in an evening that is less than spellbinding otherwise. B–

(Tickets: Telecharge.com or 800-432-7250)

Originally posted Nov 21, 2013 Published in issue #1287 Nov 29, 2013 Order article reprints