"Macbeth," Utah Shakespearean Festival through Sept. 3 (800-752-9849 or www.bard.org); running time 2 hours, 30 minutes (one intermission)
CEDAR CITY — This version of "Macbeth" is a far cry from what you may have seen before.
With its youthful leads, Grant Goodman and Kymberly Mellen, this "Macbeth" has an ambitious energy that often isn't there with older actors.
"What's done, cannot be undone," Lady Macbeth states plainly. Yet as the play progresses, it becomes clear that they wish that wasn't the case.
Macbeth, after a great battle and at the peak of his career, is haunted by witches predicting he will later become king.
He shares the news with his wife, who is eager to help him along. She decides they must help fortune along by killing the king, who is set to visit their home the following evening.
On the night of the king's visit, at Lady Macbeth's insistence, Macbeth ascends the stairs and kills the king in his sleep. And so begins their undoing.
With blood-covered hands, and fearful that he will be found out, Macbeth begins to arrange for the deaths of others who might suspect his deed.
In what is largely considered to be a wonderful look at evil, the nature of evil and what guilt and remorse can do to the human spirit, this "Macbeth" delivers on all counts, thanks largely to another wonderful USF cast, under the direction of Joseph Hanreddy.
As Macbeth's remorse grows, he begins to lose himself to hallucinations (one such ghost, Banquo, is played with eerie perfection by Don Burroughs), paranoia and cold-hearted resolve in his inability to die.
Goodman's descent is very well-played, complete with sunken, exhausted eyes and an inner acknowledgement of his deeds and the spiral effect of his own evil.
Mellen's Lady Macbeth is wonderfully engaged, focused and calculating, and she spurs her husband to do the unthinkable. And her downward spiral into madness — walking the halls, screaming out and seeing blood — is played with desperation, sorrow, remorse and confusion.
The Weyward sisters, the three witches, have wonderful characterizations. They're played by Lillian Castillo, Monica Lopez and Chelsea Steverson.Comment on this story
Macduff (Michael Brusasco) and the other nobleman also deliver fine performances. And Tony Amendola is the much-needed comic relief as the porter.
Bill Black has designed beautiful costumes in hues of gray and black. Troy Hemmerlin's set, which is stark but for some blood-red trees, is beautifully done. And Lindsay Jones' sound design captures the apparitions and battles very well.
This "Macbeth" demonstrates why it's one of Shakespeare's great plays.