Closed 1h 40m
Mac Beth
Upper E Side
81

Mac Beth NYC Reviews and Tickets

81%
(137 Reviews)
Positive
85%
Mixed
13%
Negative
2%
Members say
Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Great staging, Edgy

About the Show

Seven girls hurl headlong into the unchecked passions of "Macbeth" as the line between real life and bloody fantasy quickly blurs. An encore staging of Red Bull's new adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy.

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Member Reviews (137)

49
Shows, Shenanigans, Unfocused

See it if you feel the need to see every production of Macbeth or just want to support all-female casts or plays seemingly entirely yelled.

Don't see it if you know nothing of MacBeth since there is no real clear distinction between characters. Read more

39
Incoherent, Stunts, Funny, Try hard, Confusing

See it if You're a Shakespearean scholar because otherwise you'll be pretty confused. Or if you want to see an all female cast of youths.

Don't see it if You want to see a version of Macbeth that is coherent. There was a lot of text cut out and other random bits left in. Read more

Critic Reviews (31)

February 6th, 2020

"When Teenage Angst Turns Bloody: Schoolgirl savagery is at the center of Erica Schmidt’s inventive adaptation of Shakespeare’s play."
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January 19th, 2020

"Erica Schmidt's Psychologically Intriguing 'MAC BETH' Moves Uptown"
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January 21st, 2020

Score: 97% "Once upon a time, three girls went into the forest but only two came out. In Erica Schmidt's brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' you will discover how that could be."
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January 16th, 2020

"This is among the most passionate versions of the play ever performed. Chief among the main players is the impressive Brittany Bradford, who smartly captures Macbeth's almost quicksilver transition from meek but loyal nobleman to halfheartedly ambitious throne-grabber."
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May 20th, 2019

"An adaptation...that with its all-female cast becomes a raucous, sometimes impish, very dark-edged revel...Fuhrman puts a studious teen’s spin on her contemplative Macbeth, while an irrepressible mischief lurks within Mendes’s wonderful Lady Macbeth, toggling between passion and playfulness...What’s powerful in this play isn’t its climax. It’s watching a group of girls meet Shakespeare on their own electric terms — with ferocity, abandon and the occasional wild dance break."
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May 20th, 2019

"Equally giggly and grisly...Alternates between heightened high jinks and chilling violence. At first, you may chuckle at these bad girls’ adolescent antics...even as Macbeth and her wife (standout Ismenia Mendes) go on an ambition-fueled rampage of destruction...The production works better when it veers into horror territory...The bloody savagery that these fresh-faced girls are capable of inflicting on each other is hard to wash off your mind."
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May 19th, 2019

"The stage is awash in concept, but the real, visceral stakes of the story at hand can be neither seen nor felt...Schmidt is so enamored of her big idea that she allows her actors to gallop through the text of 'Macbeth' as if it has nothing to offer but basic structure and forward motion...The characters they’re enacting inside Shakespeare’s play blur together, a mess of casual, hyper, contemporary gestures that never let us take the story seriously."
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May 20th, 2019

"The giddy, irreverent pace and edited text help offset the inevitable stylistic trade-off: not all the actors are giving a Banquo, Macduff or King Duncan for the ages (whatever that might be)...The playing of the lead roles is generally appealing, but uneven...I wanted more 'Macbeth' on the cutting-room floor, more material about the students’ lives, less fidelity to the Jacobean source."
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May 19th, 2019

"The concept brims with potential, not all of which is realized...Beyond one shocking artistic liberty at the very end, 'Mac Beth' is essentially just 'Macbeth,' smartly shaved down to 90 minutes and seven actors. That's fine: It's a great play and Schmidt's inventive, seamless staging makes it soar...Feel less like a universal tragedy and more like a sensational segment on the six o'clock news, to be viewed with horror and then quickly dismissed as the irrational behavior of youth."
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June 3rd, 2019

“Psychologically intriguing Shakespeare adaptation...Newcomers to Shakespeare's tragedy will undoubtedly need to study up on the source a bit in order to fully appreciate where Schmidt and her collaborators take it, but in a contemporary culture where children are said to grow up desensitized to violence, ‘Mac Beth’ effectively uses a centuries-old play to deliver timely social commentary.”
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May 24th, 2019

“Hanging its hopes on a single gimmick, this ‘Mac Beth’ is a high-decibel, low-insight evening that is most effective at exposing the limitations of its cast...Beyond the unusual casting concept, this is a straightforward reading...The action is filled with moments so borderline cutesy that they can't help but call attention to themselves...I struggle to recall another company so thoroughly tongue-tied...Thus, a rich text, loaded with emotional color, is flattened and made monotonous.”
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May 28th, 2019

“The action is thrown onto us, as we become voyeurs witnessing the young women do the play, complete with...uninvited, but not unexpected, violence...Audience members are invited to use their imaginations...But what might be a challenge for audience members accustomed to traditional takes on Shakespeare, will satisfy those in search of meta-theatrical experiences, as the play becomes a deliciously wicked study on how well we can detect when someone is acting."
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May 19th, 2019

"No light is being shed here, no new insights into the text is startlingly revealed. This 'Mac Beth' is simply a mistake, and the best thing to do about it is to wait for Schmidt to move on to her next project and for Red Bull Theater to move on to its next...Among these cast members, most with impressive credits, the stand-out is Mendes."
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May 19th, 2019

"Because we’re clearly watching women, certain dialogue is more powerful than ever...We all know things come to a bloody end for Macbeth, and this 'Mac Beth' takes things even further. Whether the extra bit of made-for-Instagram violence works might depend on your tolerance for blood. Or horror flicks. Or it might depend on your knowledge of high school–age young women—a number of whom were at the performance I attended. Clearly, this 'Mac Beth' was on the level."
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May 29th, 2019

"The inspiration for the current revival was the The Slender Man and West Virginia stabbings...The problem here is that if you have not read the notes before seeing the performance you would not guess at the interpretation. It is not until the final scene that this becomes clear with the culminating violence and one of the witches saying to the other, "We really did go on three," the notorious Twitter post of one of the West Virginia high school girls after their stabbing of their friend."
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May 23rd, 2019

"Despite it being an independent, tongue-in-cheek, quasi-parody of of the original, it contains some of the finest representations of the classic characters I have seen...The original play is brutal in its way and this salute to the play updates the pacing and shock value to match the times. What’s more, it’s a relatable entree into Shakespeare for young audiences who might not normally take an interest."
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May 20th, 2019

"It is brash, irreverent, smart, and awash with new millennial flavor...What is particularly good about Schmidt's production is the way Shakespeare's language and emblematic imagery remains intact...The actors are to be commended for their energy and pluck, with many actors taking on multiple roles...The real surprise in 'Mac Beth' is that scene after scene something fresh will be revealed about the Scottish Play."
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May 21st, 2019

"I’ve never seen a more exciting or clearer version than the Red Bull Theater production of 'Mac Beth,' stunningly adapted and directed by Erica Schmidt...The gender bending alone is an interesting twist...The other element that becomes blindingly clear...is the frightening combination of emotional immaturity, physical prime, raging hormones and group hypnosis that is the state of teenagerhood...The cast is extraordinary."
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May 25th, 2019

"It’s a breathtakingly brilliant recreation...They carry the modern and the iconic with ease, all the the young female actors, bringing in references to classes and texts when needed...Much can be learned by this incantation, like the simplicity of this cast of seven bringing a forest and an epic battle to the forefront with deliberate action infused with a successfully dynamic and emotional weight...It’s dynamic and gloriously barbarous, this 'Mac Beth.'"
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May 20th, 2019

“This all feels frustratingly like so much skill and talent wasted. Maybe if Schmidt had taken her adaptation deeper into the world of the disturbed young women who inspired it, a more profound understanding or sense of tragedy would have emerged. As it is, the treatment of their story feels flippant, and the treatment of Shakespeare’s unnecessary—entertaining on some levels, but ultimately pointless...It falls disappointingly into the world of gimmickry."
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May 19th, 2019

"The production’s cleverness will not be enough for theatergoers who seek the depth and especially the coherence of the original play...Ultimately feels like little more than an engaging exercise. But that 'more' includes Isabelle Fuhrman’s increasingly intense performance as Macbeth, and some arresting stagecraft that produces a few scenes both chilling and thought-provoking."
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May 26th, 2019

"It's nearly impossible to tell one minor character from another, or for that matter, even what the increasingly muddled play is about…If you're ready to watch seven young actresses whose nearly uniformly high-pitched voices barely differ from one another shouting Shakespeare's lines at Mach speed, then Schmidt's approach is for you. You may even not squirm as they turn the tragedy's characters into angst-ridden teenage girls, often completely missing the intent of the lines."
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May 25th, 2019

"I don’t know why it’s being done...'Mac Beth' clearly wants to say something meaningful about how horrid high-school girls can be to one another. But it comes off more like a drama club production of 'Macbeth' at the kind of all-girls high school I attended, where the tall girls played the most masculine roles and the darker-skinned girls played the funny sidekicks...Schmidt doesn’t provide any real context that explains who these girls are."
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June 4th, 2019

"Her experiment is largely successful. The central conceit is well-earned, intuitive rather than gimmicky. 'Mac Beth,' after all, is obsessed with how action rather than biology can denote gender."
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May 19th, 2019

"Extraordinarily violent and bizarrely hilarious...Ms. Schmidt accomplished her mission. Her Macbeth is all the more gruesome and disturbing when filtered through the exaggerated lens of real events...The seven young actresses are incredibly effective and fully committed to this mad vision....Much of the time they feel rushed on the way to the next grotesquerie. In between some of those moments, I was slightly bored...This version exists for its outrageous style not its nuanced storytelling."
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May 29th, 2019

“Fun, impetuous, bold, surprising, and even feverish in its delivery of one of Shakespeare’s most serious works. Yet, such an approach of Shakespeare should be expected from a group of smart, young girls testing the boundaries of their passions...From dolls to texts, you never lose sight of these adolescents’ youth but you do wonder of their innocence...Each girl seeps into their character with a childlike wonder and, eventually, a human immersion.”
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May 26th, 2019

“The amazing Red Bull Production...An excellent--no, brilliant--idea...Although virtually all of the words are Shakespeare's, ‘Mac Beth’ also focuses on the lives of contemporary teenage girls and the fervor of their emotions and loyalties...Schmidt directs ‘Mac Beth’ as a whirlwind of a show; it is always compelling, frequently funny, and occasionally chilling. The cast of young women is astonishingly good...The show is downright thrilling when the parts coalesce.”
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May 19th, 2019

"Full of a whole lot of sound but precious little fury...Director Erica Schmidt explores some interesting ideas in her adaptation...But as a director, she’s produced a loud, exasperating muddle...The performances here are so spastic, the line delivery so rapid-fire that not only is Shakespeare’s poetry lost but also any sense that these are flesh-and-blood adolescents who have deliberately chosen to act out this ancient play in some grassy field."
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May 19th, 2019

"This production examines of Shakespeare’s most grittily famous plays through the lens of the teenage experience...Here, packed into ninety breakneck minutes and delivered by a cast of entirely young women, the play has a newfound palpability...The conceit of this play is compelling enough to draw attention, and it’s execution lives up to the hype and then some...A rock-solid production, and well worth a trip."
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May 20th, 2019

"An exciting theatrical experience that injects fresh energy and immediacy into the oft-performed and oft-read play. It strikes a good balance between faithfulness and innovation, and its central conceit never feels like an interpretive fad or a new-for-the-sake-of-new device...The audience is never allowed to forget that they are watching a group of schoolgirls playing 'Macbeth,' and the actors are thus able to make the play deeply moving on two levels."
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May 30th, 2019

“The remarkable septet is as comfortable with Shakespeare’s Early Modern English as they are with their cell phones...Equally impressive and entertaining, are the uniquely appropriate line readings...None of Schmidt’s free-rein direction or deceptively casual touches obscure the play’s underlying seriousness or its tragic elements...Watching ‘Macbeth’ from a teen point of view is like experiencing the play from the inside.”
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