Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of the Scottish king in “Macbeth,” shown at Sierra Cinemas, was downright terrifying.
This well-known Shakespearean tragedy was broadcast through the National Theatre of London Live series and has a repeat showing at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Staged in a deconsecrated church in Manchester, England, the setting of this production was made even eerier by a mucky corridor of mud between the audience risers that the actors traversed to fight their battles and plan their demonic deeds.
With a large suspended cross and a dwindling candlelit altar at one end, we were subliminally reminded throughout of the morality and humanity that was being decimated as Macbeth’s dirty ambitions progressed.
The saga of “Macbeth” epitomizes the saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Prophesized by a trio of witches and spurred on by an ambitious wife, Macbeth murders the king of Scotland and takes the throne. Branagh’s portrayal of the subsequent guilt and paranoia almost —almost — had me sympathetic.
That is how good he is.
But as predicted, “there will be blood” and there was — on his and his wife’s hands and on the bodies of all their victims.
Lady Macbeth’s treachery is convincingly portrayed by Alex Kingston who we know from television (“Doctor Who,” “ER”) but get to experience quite dramatically different in this classic female role.
And I was brought to tears by Ray Fearon’s Macduff’s wrenching monologue after learning of the murder of his family.
Scarier than most any horror movie, “Macbeth” is a perfect fit for this Halloween season. And speaking of Halloween, the NTL Live showing Thursday will be a reprise of their amazing production of “Frankenstein.”
“Macbeth” plays once more at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Sierra Cinemas.
For tickets and information, visit http:// sierratheaters.com or call 530-477-1100.
Sandra Rockman has been involved with the local theater scene since 1978. She is an actress and playwright and has directed more than 25 productions.