Story By Kyle Poluyko
Photos By Barry Wojciechowski
Magnus Theatre’s presentation of Machomer by Wyrd Productions is a one-man feat of strength, and a grand achievement in storytelling through vocal impressions, animated projections, puppetry and music. This fast-paced, one act satirical retelling of Macbeth is a unique theatrical experience and every bit Shakespearian as it is Springfieldian.
The premise is simple. Over 50 characters from the long-running animated series The Simpsons perform Shakespeare’s great tragedy. But any simplicity in the production ends there. Actor Jerry Getty, recognizable to Magnus audiences from last season’s productions of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline and Completely Hollywood, gives voice to classic Simpsons characters including Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, Groundskeeper Willie, Principal Skinner, and many more.
The speed and stamina with which Getty transitions between vocal impressions appears effortless as he navigates Shakespearian dialogue with skill and grace. While he fails to capture the vocal essence of Bart and Lisa, Getty’s talents win out overall as he gives voice to inspired “casting.” Mr. Burns is a superbly sinister King Duncan, the cynical and burnt out Krusty the Clown is brilliant as the drunken porter on guard the night of the king’s murder, and the always intoxicated Barney is a truly effectual Macduff.
One marvels at the preparation Getty must have undertaken, for the experience of watching his performance is both exhilarating and exhausting. He is supported by a set of stylish animations and projections that brilliantly establish the feel and look of The Simpsons and make sense of the story of Macbeth. The lighting design by Kirsten Watt focuses the audience’s attention and dramatically punctuates even the most hysterical moments.
Those who may be unfamiliar with Shakespeare’s great tragedy or the Simpsons may find themselves lost in the rapid fire pace of the show. But the true and greater experience is Getty who tackles with genius some of the most iconic voices in television—and in pop culture in general—of the last 25 years. It is an experience not to be underestimated nor missed.
Magnus Theatre’s Machomer runs through November 9 at Magnus Theatre. For additional information and tickets call the box office at 345-5552 or visit magnus.on.ca.