The Associated Press
January 24, 1981


By MARY CAMPBELL, Associated Press Writer

If "Macbeth" is looked on as a chain of important, difficult-to-forge links, then the play as presented by the Lincoln Center Theater Company has soldered well all the links but one.

That one is the influence and effect that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have on each other.

Philip Anglim, last on Broadway as "The Elephant Man," is a younger Macbeth than usual, but young men and old have craved power and been willing to do anything to get it. He has the whole character, as long as he is doing it alone. He talks himself into killing the king so he can be king, and he talks himself out of it.

At that point, Maureen Anderman as Lady Macbeth, talks him into it again. Their words, there, skate over the surface and the play goes on. However, we needed that for, among other things, motivation for her to go mad later.

Miss Anderman, solo, is a fine Lady Macbeth, the model of a social climber who is all gracious hostess and steely determination. And her mad, sleepwalking scene was more than superb.

Anglim goes on in the play, not becoming cruel so much as blinding himself to anything being wrong when he orders more and more killings of potential enemies. He puts a tremor of feeling in his voice when he tells the doctor to cure his wife and conveys grief when she dies.

His voice is a pleasure to listen to and his phrasing of Macbeth's well-known soliloquys makes them fresh.

John Vickery as Malcolm, J. Kenneth Campbell as Macduff
J. Kenneth Campbell as Macduff, left, and John Vickery as Malcolm, right.
screencapture by Bamfer
John Vickery was very good as the king's son, Malcolm, believable both when he enumerates his vices for Macduff and when he tells Macduff the vices were made up to test him. J. Kenneth Campbell, as Macduff, also was good, making the scene between the two of them positively sing.

Sarah Caldwell, head of the Opera Company of Boston, is making her theater directing debut with this production in the Vivian Beaumont Theater. A catwalk above the stage is used to really splendid effect -- an upstairs hall to the king's bedroom, a place for Banquo's ghost to appear, a rampart for Malcolm's troops to scale. Herbert Senn and Helen Pond, who often work with Miss Caldwell in Boston, have a staircase at one end for the king and the discoverers of his body and later a center spiral staircase for Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking.

Miss Caldwell has for one of the three witches a man singing falsetto, which is a minor annoyance. Battle scenes are excitingly choreographed by B. H. Barry. And it's a more violent "Macbeth" than usual, Banquo being held by two men and run through by a third, the Macduff children separately having their throats slit and Lady Macduff being held and stabbed after she does a lot of yelling.

Richmond Crinkley produced. Critics were invited on Thursday and Friday.

Smaller parts were well cast. Roy K. Stevens, for example, put each of honest Banquo's thoughts plainly on his face. The Macbeths kissed rather often and the affection between them seemed real. If the impact of their personalities on each other could be felt, this would be a mighty production. "Macbeth" needs every single link Shakespeare put in its chain.

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