The Quattro Gatti Theatre Company is down from Brooklyn for DC Fringe this year. Andy Hopper writes, directs and stars in DATELINE: Macbeth, a fast-paced, funny, genre-defying reimagining of Shakespeare’s classic. He updates the play, sets it in a Hawaiian community theater, adds dialogue from the actual play as well as more modern language, and a multi-media presentation Dateline style – as well as a couple original songs and Cher. Quattro Gatti’s mission is to create new hybrids and re-invent a love of theater in audience and artist. In this they have succeeded. It is definitely a new hybrid and it definitely updates Shakespeare, with an emphasis on the gore, the fights, and the drama. If you haven’t seen the Scottish play since high school, you’ll miss some of the smaller in-jokes, but it is really totally unnecessary to see the source material to enjoy this one.
One of the main subplots is the community theater angle, which didn’t really fit with dateline or Macbeth, but was nevertheless a pretty pointed and funny look at a washed up actor and his wife trying to seek a comeback in community theater while the local actors sing songs about tiny bubbles and do interpretive dance. Hopper (Michael) plays an alcoholic TV star whose wife Kate (Amy Frances Quint) is trying to resurrect his career with this gig in Hawaii. During the actual Shakespeare, it’s clear both actors are at home with much more serious material but also revel in the comedy. The Hawaii actors, Tina and Stephen (Niamh McCormally and Matthew Gunn Park) also jump in with both feet. McCormally is particularly good as all three witches at once. It involves two mirrors. Park shines during his video online dating introduction. Eric Doss (Don) is the director who takes this whole work way too seriously and pulls it off with complete conviction. Hugo Armstrong (Dateline Anchor) is not actually in DC. He acts in the video Dateline series in a Hawaiian shirt. He plays up the parody nicely. Luke Edward Smith (Lenny) is a standout as the stage manager who is a stickler for equity rules. Since most of the cast are equity actors, the irony is pointed. His Scottish accent is spot on.
This is a very, very funny play. If there is a weakness, I think they try to do too much. Scenes with video Dateline interviews, actual shakespearean dialogue, existential comments about putting on community theater, plus the whole Hawaii angle and the washed up Hollywood subplot made for a few schizophrenic moments. Plus the whole tragic murder story – since this is actually an adaptation of Macbeth. Sometimes I didn’t know where to look, but they do pull off all of the pieces perfectly in one truly hilarious production.
Running Time: 80 minutes.
DATELINE: Macbeth plays through July 26, 2014 at Warehouse Theatre–645 New York Ave NW, in Washington DC. For their performance schedule and to purchase tickets, visit their Capital Fringe Page.