Macbeth Reflected- Theatre Jones Roy

Macbeth Reflected, Theatre Jones Roy’s latest production currently playing in the Lower Ossington Theatre, seeks to delve further into the complex relationship of the doomed thane and his wife by not just reimagining but completely restructuring the original text of Shakespeare. It’s a daring experiment, but one that doesn’t quite succeed.
 
Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones, Macbeth Reflected presents the famous story entirely from the point of view of Macbeth (John Ng) and Lady Macbeth (Mary Ashton), ending right before Lady M tragically goes off the deep end and disappears from the action altogether. The extraneous characters are almost entirely absent, two thirds of the text eliminated, and the remaining text has been shuffled around and played with to try and give a breath of life to the old play.
 
The lighting and sound design give the show its shining moments. The lighting is appropriately oppressive and never overbearing. Mirrors are strewn throughout the set and not only reveal the theme of the show, but also give the characters and the audience an entirely new dimension through which to view scenes. The interpretation of the three witches was the most enthralling scene in the show as I watched three painted flats, one red light, and an eerie soundtrack all combine to give a disconcerting portrayal of the witches.
 
Unfortunately, the rest of show suffers from a lack of connection with the audience. Shakespeare purists will find a lot of the changes difficult to swallow, while anyone with a limited knowledge of the bard will be unable to follow what’s going on without full knowledge of the story. There are a few interesting moments, such as Lady M’s famous letter speech delivered directly to her husband instead of alone, which gives a new take on the old text. But other scenes, like Banquo’s death, are clumsy and without explanation or character development failed to elicit any sympathy from me.
 
I’m not really sure whether the text seemed flat because of the performances, or whether the performances seemed flat because of the text, but save for a few moments Ng and Ashton can’t seem to completely get into the text. It’s not from lack of trying, though. Ashton in particular has a few moments of success as Lady Macbeth, but a lot of other scenes just seem to fall short of what they could be.
 
As I said, Macbeth Reflected is an experiment, and one that I’m sincerely glad was attempted. It’s not often that a theatre company is willing to go out on a limb to try something new and unexpected. In this case, unfortunately, cutting and pasting Shakespeare’s epic from three hours to fifty minutes seems to have done more harm than good. Hopefully, Theatre Jones-Roy will be able to reflect on this in the future and have a more successful crack at it.
Details:
Macbeth Reflected is playing until Jan. 24 at the Lower Ossington Theatre (100A Ossington Ave.)
-Performances are Jan. 20-23 at 8pm, Jan. 23 at 2:30pm and Jan. 24 at 4:00pm
-Tickets are $25 regular, $15 for matinees, and PWYC on Sundays. $20 tickets are available for students and seniors.
-Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 416-504-7529.