by Terry Teachout
January 30, 2009
I flew directly to the Windy City to see one of Chicago's top home teams on its own turf. Barbara Gaines, Chicago Shakespeare's artistic director, has given us a modern-dress "Macbeth" set in a glossy world of press conferences, cocktail parties and departure lounges. Macbeth and his wife (Ben Carlson and Karen Aldridge) are an up-to-the-minute power couple, a crisply plain-spoken soldier married to a coarse, slutty trophy wife. Such devices may seem trendy in the telling, but Ms. Gaines and her first-class cast have instead used them as the building blocks of a dead-serious "Macbeth" that has the immediacy of a fast car shrieking down a long, straight stretch of road.
Warning: Buckets of blood are shed on Mark Bailey's big-city set—Lady Macbeth ends up slitting her wrists in a transparent bathtub—and anyone susceptible to nightmares is likely to come away from this graphically violent but tremendously compelling production wanting to leave the closet light on for a night or two.