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Gruesome ‘Macbeth’ bloodies Long Beach Shakespeare Company stage

Walter Gray IV (seated) as MacBeth, with witches Libby Letlow, Sara Neal and Yvonne Robertson in Long Beach Shakespeare Company's "Macbeth" (Photo by James Tweet)

Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s (LBSC) “Macbeth” effectively portrays the heavy psychological toll of murder stemming from the play’s grisly deaths.

As we know from current events in Ukraine, one way to achieve power is simply taking it, even killing whoever’s in the way. That’s the perverted path Macbeth and Lady Macbeth find themselves walking—at first by choice and then by compulsion.

Especially owing to nuanced performances by Walter Gray IV as Macbeth and Libby Letlow as Lady Macbeth—under the direction of Theresa Hill—we feel what it might be like to have blood on our hands and desperation in our hearts. Murdering King Duncan (Bill Walthall) while he is a guest in their home through Lady Macbeth’s clever plan allows General Macbeth to become ruler of Scotland.

Prompting Macbeth’s boldness is a prophecy by three cackling, chanting witches—played with relish by Letlow, Sara Neal and Yvonne Robertson—who make a gross cauldron concoction of frog and baby parts but seem to know what they’re talking about. Though they foretell that Macbeth will be king, they also foresee that the sons of fellow general Banquo (Mikael Mattsson) will eventually reign. Guess who Macbeth murders next.

As his list of victims grows, we see Macbeth haunted by Banquo’s ghost and tortured by his...

Long Beach Shakespeare Company’s “Macbeth” continues through March 19 at the Helen Borgers Theatre, 4250 Atlantic Ave. Tickets are $23 general admission and $13 for students, with performances Fridays (except March 4) and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets and information, call 1-562-997-1494 or visit Masks are required during the performance.


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