October 24, 2008


"Macbeth" is currently on the Indiana Repertory Theatre's Upperstage. Macbeth is the latest in the IRT's long line of Shakespeare shows that work to make the Bard more accessible to younger audiences. The 90 minute show is brief enough to appeal to Shakespeare novices, without losing the meat of the play. The original language hasn't been altered, just trimmed. In addition to shorten the original play, the production embraces modern dress for the cast, complete with military attire for the men.

The set is an original design by Gordon R. Strain. This is Strain's first solo run as a scenic designer and the stage captures the stark, yet restricted feel of the plot.

IRT regular Jennifer Johansen plays the manipulative and ambitious Lady Macbeth. Johansen gives a mesmerizing performance as the voice of evil in her husband's ear. Her intense portrayal alone makes the show a must see as her character feeds Macbeth's desperate thoughts.

Andrew Ahrens embraces his role as the title character with fervor. Insanity leaks into Macbeth's life with every new crime he commits. The blood of his misdeeds stains his hands long after water has washed it away.

The plot of Macbeth stands the test of time, reminding us all that a guilty conscience will haunt your every step. The show is a bloody Halloween treat for audience members of all ages.

Don't Miss the Show

The Indiana Repertory Theatre is located at 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, one-half block west of the Circle Center Mall between northbound Illinois St. and southbound Capitol Ave. "Hamlet" runs until Saturday, Nov. 8 on IRT's Upperstage. Times for performances can be found at www.irtlive.com or by calling the IRT box office at (317) 635-5252. To purchase tickets call (317) 635-5252 or order online at www.irtlive.com

October 14, 2008

Avenue Q

The lights go up on a shady version of Sesame Street, but this show and these puppets are not for kids. "Avenue Q" is on stage now at Clowes Memorial Hall courtesy of Broadway Across America. The show follows a mix of people, puppets and monsters that live on a street in a dodgy New York neighborhood. The newest resident, Princeton, is a recent college graduate hoping to find his "purpose" in life.

The premise sounds innocent enough, but the show is an exercise in adult humor and hilarity. The musical numbers have titles like, "Everyone is a Little Bit Racist" and "It Sucks To Be Me." There is also puppet sex, which odd as it sounds, is pretty graphic.

The talented cast, including Indiana native Carey Anderson, does a wonderful job. Despite being in full view of the audience, their animated antics add to their puppets' personality instead of becoming a distraction. Anderson has a gorgeous voice, showcased in "There's a Fine, Fine Line." Robert McClure does a particularly wonderful job with the roles of Princeton and the closeted Republican accountant Rod. Rod's character is in love with his roommate Nicky; a parody of Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie.

Despite the crude nature of some scenes the whole production is bursting with real life humor. Just like life it's a little down and dirty; some things will make you cringe, others make you giggle and many things, like the misfortune of others (a.k.a. "Schadenfreude") make you laugh out loud.

Don't Miss the Show

The show runs until Sunday, October 19 at Clowes Memorial Hall so hurry to get tickets to the show. Tickets can be purchased at Clowes Memorial Hall, The Murat Theatre, by calling (317) 239-1000 or online at www.broadwayacrossamerica.com. Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Sunday.