Theater Week! Time To Trip To Scotland, PA – MacBeth Style!By Caroline Cao | October 31, 2019 | Entertainment
Lifted from Billy Morrissette‘s 2001 indie film, Scotland, PA is an off-Broadway Macbeth tale set in the Nixon-era 1970s. The campy tone is set by the opening number “Destiny, Part One,” sung by the scene-stealing Stoners (Alysha Umphress, Wonu Ogunfowora and Kaleb Wells), who take the place of the three witches in William Shakespeare’s play. Mac (Ryan McCartan) and his wife Pat (Taylor Iman Jones) dream of opening their own restaurant, sick of being overworked and underappreciated in their burger joint. Then the Stoners pop up in Mac’s vision and feed the desperate dreamer a prophecy about his impending rise–and fall.
I wouldn’t call the toe-tapping music and lyrics by Adam Gwon far-reaching or resonant, with the exception of the rousing ballad “Clairvoyance” and a select few, but it has a witty book by Michael Mitnick and director Lonny Price’s adeptness at building sight gags and emotional visuals.
Ryan as Mac has that bright-eyed chipperness, which dissolves into eerie derangement by his final number “Soliloquy.” He is accompanied by Jones, a supportive wife with disconcerting desperation that leads her to have little qualms about eliminating those who stand in their way. There’s the lovable laid-back Banko (Jay Armstrong Johnson) who becomes a tragic sacrificial lamb in their scheme. Will Meyers as the bratty Malcolm emerges with a surprising gut-punch in “Why I Love Football.” Megan Lawrence is a hilarious on-the-case Peg McDuff with her notepad. Jeb Brown is perfect as an affably-speaking and despicable employer.
For those who love the campy parables about capitalism found in Little Shop of Horrors, Scotland, PA is a gory fun with visual surprises and pops of heart. I’m eager to spoil them but that would ruin the fun.
photo credit: Roundabout Theatre