The witches (Clare Graff, Izzy Lachey, and Josie Leanza) begin to weave the spell that will seal Macbeth’s fate in Walnut Hills High School’s production of Macbeth.
Review by Grace Hoffmann, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team
The lights dimmed to black as thunder began to crackle overhead. A single light illuminates three figures, witches, beginning to murmur about a man…Macbeth. The witches dance around the stage, casting audiences into Walnut Hills High School's production of Macbeth for a story of greed, manipulation, and the destruction humanity can create.
Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare that tells the story of Scottish war hero Macbeth. After three strange witches appear and prophesied that Macbeth will become King of Scotland, he is encouraged to assassinate the current king and become the king himself by his wife. As civil war erupts to kill Macbeth, chaos ensues, leaving many dead from paranoia and greed.
Walnut Hills took its own path to put Macbeth on the stage, changing the setting to World War I while still staying with the traditional Shakespearean language. Performing in the round with audiences all on sides, Walnut Hills made the show their own from their intentional acting choices to impressive makeup.
Wolf Singer successfully took on the heavy role of protagonist Macbeth with maturity and grace. Singer used his full body, breathing, and volume to showcase his emotions and signify the corruption and instability of Macbeth growing as the story unfolds. Mixed with the chemistry between Emma Dalton as Lady Macbeth, the power struggle between Singer and Dalton and thirst for power was heard through every line he spoke and every movement he made.
Dalton as Lady Macbeth was impressive to watch on stage, especially during her emotional scenes. Dalton used her facial expressions, intentional movement, and high attention to punctuation to anchor the audience and help them understand the story, a necessity in a Shakespearean play. The cast overall showcased the talent of many students, including the infamous witches, played by Josie Leanza, Izzy Lachey, and Clare Graff. All three actors had strong, international movements and expressions, making them seem otherworldly and powerful. The use of dance throughout the show heightened these character choices, setting them apart in the production and showing their importance to the story.
The technical elements mixed with the performance of many talented actors rounded the production out as a success. The set crew (Jae Goodman and crew) added trap doors to the elevated stage that allowed the witches to lurk around, adding to the dimension of the stage and the otherworldliness of the witches. With the impressive props of Singer's casted head (Oran Wilkins and crew) and ghost makeup looks that were unique to how each character died (Lizzy Rebber and crew,) the technical elements were quintessential partner to the acting of the cast, creating a well-rounded show.
From strong movement to impressive makeup, Walnut Hills High School's production of Macbeth showcased their talented students and was an overwhelming success. As the witches cast their final spell and the house lights went up, it was known that overall Walnut Hills put on a haunting and wonderful show!
Macbeth (Wolf Singer) is wounded by Macduff (Nate Caudill) in the epic final showdown of Walnut Hills High School’s production of Macbeth.
Review by Catherine Coleman, Colerain High School Critic Team
There's daggers in men's smiles and tragedy in theater. An amazing show performed in the round, Walnut Hills put on Shakespeare's Macbeth and truly more praise is due than any can give. A classic and challenging masterpiece, this tale of one lord's deadly hubris is brought back to life on the fields of World War I by the cast and crew of Walnut Hills High School.
This take on The Tragedy of Macbeth is set in the more recent time of World War I, yet the story remains largely the same. A tale of one man, told his future by three weird sisters, who decided to take fate into his own hands, spurred on by his wife, Lady Macbeth. Recklessly killing a good king in the pursuit of power for power's sake, and then friends and children alike. Eventually both Lord and Lady Macbeth are forced to see the consequences of their actions to the grisly end and end up dead and disgrace, the kingdom left relieved to be free of their devil like tyrants.
Wolf Singer as Macbeth put on a stellar performance, captivating and scaring the audience with his dedication to descending into madness. Singer's embodiment of Lord Macbeth was impeccable, he brought the spirit of the play to the stage. Lady Macbeth (Emma Dalton) instantly seized the attention of the crowd when she first stepped on stage. A breathtaking performance; Dalton allowed us all to bear witness to Lady Macbeth's scheming mind and eventual mind terrors.
For just a brief moment during the show, Clark Sayre, playing the Porter, gave the audience comedic reprise with a memorable, and prophetic, monologue inspired by drunkenness and late night visitors. Another strong presence throughout the show was Lennox (Abby Riddle) who captured viewers' attention whenever she graced the stage. An immaculate performance and dedication that was more than noteworthy, and a prominent presence in the second act, Nate Caudill as Macduff brought the horrors of the tale to light, moving the audience with his grief and impressing with his vengeful yet humble attitude change.
A stage in the round is no easy task, but the tech crews took it in stride and created a masterpiece. The lighting, led by Allison Calkins, was so well done that it was difficult to notice anything artificial about it. Regardless of seating, the lights made the show spectacular from any side. Their hard work served to illuminate the incredible talents of hair and makeup (headed by Lizzy Rebber and Sci Redding) who were responsible for the starling and realistic faux blood as well as the subtle changes to portray the gradual destruction of Macbeth. From undone hair to a casted and ghastly severed head, the crew made the show unforgettable.
A soul shaking performance by all involved, Walnut Hill's Macbeth is not one to be quickly dismissed. The level of talent, emotion, and dedication poured into the production shines through and leaves the audience feeling as if they were lucky to be able to bear witness to such a performance.
Lady Macbeth (Emma Dalton) contemplates murder while the witches (Izzy Lachey and Clare Graff) work their magic in Walnut Hills High School’s production of Macbeth.
Review by Jessica Roell, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
Despite uttering the name of the cursed Scottish Play countless times, the black box theater of Walnut Hills High School showed no signs of curses, as they aptly performed Shakespeare's Macbeth with refined and nuanced artistry.
The play focuses on Macbeth, a respected Scottish general. When he is met with three witches who claim that he will one day become king, he becomes obsessed with the idea. With encouragement from his wife, he takes violent action to secure the position for himself and ensure that nothing will stand between him and that power. However, like most characters who attempt to master their fate, a trail of destruction and bloodshed follows the new king as the tragedy unfolds and the consequences of ambition are revealed.
The production featured several skilled performers, but Wolf Singer and Emma Dalton as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth easily stood out among their costars. Singer gave a chilling performance as the power-hungry king. At the beginning of the show, Macbeth came off as a charismatic protagonist, which made his descent into madness especially compelling. The initial charm that he gave to character earned him sympathy at first, as Singer made the character seem to show genuine regret over his actions in an emotional monologue in Act III. However, that sympathy was soon turned on its head, as Macbeth's own feelings took a sharp turn. As Macbeth came to revel in violence, Wolf Singer showed this in a truly frightening way, through manic laughter and other unsettling details. Emma Dalton, who played Lady Macbeth, performed with just as much skill as Singer, making for an impressive duo on stage. Dalton quickly made a good impression, as Lady Macbeth's first monologue was filled with passion and emotion, which continued throughout the play, and Lady Macbeth's own descent into insanity was portrayed in a unique, yet equally as effective, manor. Adding to the ominous atmosphere of the show, Josie Leanza, Izzy Lachey, and Clare Graff all gave spectacular performances as the Witches, with well-choreographed movements and all-around eerie stage presence. Combined, these performances created a hair-raising atmosphere that was rarely broken.
The cast, however, was not the only thing contributing to the macabre mood of the show. In a show as gory as Macbeth, it is vital to have good usage of fake blood and special effects makeup, and the hair and makeup crew, led by Lizzy Rebber and Sci Redding, did not disappoint. With realistic fake blood and well-applied makeup, this crew made the dead bodies, ghosts, and Witches all appear disturbingly real. There were also other unique details that made the hair and makeup stand out, such as colored contact lenses and hairstyles that reflected the characters, particularly Macbeth and his change of hairstyle to reflect his deteriorating mental state and conscience.
While there were many elements and characters in this show, the Walnut Hills lead and ensemble performers, and hair and makeup crew stood out among the rest. With authentic lead performances from Wolf Singer and Emma Dalton, complemented by the Witches and well-executed special effects makeup, these groups contributed to a successful production of Macbeth.
Macbeth (Wolf Singer) is horrified by Duncan’s blood on his hands in Walnut Hills High School’s production of Macbeth.
Excerpts From Other Top Reviews
"On top of each outstanding aspect of this show comes the makeup crew, designed by Lizzy Rebber, Sci Redding, and crew. Without the unbelievable job of makeup that was preserved throughout this show, it truly would not be as breathtaking. The smallest details brought the utmost attention to people's eyes. The crew had slowly adjusted Macbeth's hair every few scenes to represent his uprising madness. They had also molded his face to create a mask, along with the quick but astonishing makeup applied to the walking dead's faces. Not only makeup but props, lights, and sound as well. Every crew had remarkably followed through with their contributions. Executing their cues flawlessly and building masterpieces to make the performance feel almost lifelike."
-Grace Siener, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
"The three witches (Josie Leanza, Izzy Lachey, and Clare Graff) showed off their physical acting talents and greatly contributed to the haunting mood of this production. Their crawling, jerky, inhuman movements made them seem as if they really were supernatural creatures. They were excellent at synchronizing their motions as they performed spell-casting dances, skillfully and creatively choreographed by Lael Ingram."
-Catherine Foster, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
"Nate Caudill playing Macduff performed realistically and emotionally, especially in the scene where his family's murder was revealed. Sophie Christian playing Seyton did a great job acting as Macbeth's servant and used the hood on her costume as a way to embody her mystique."
-Maria Buerger, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team
"The crew putting on the show did a spectacular job of bringing the actors to life and, without them, the play wouldn't be complete! To highlight, the lighting was done by Allison Calkins and their crew brought intense fighting scenes and terrifying ghost scenes to life through reds, oranges, and whites. Along with this, the costuming, hair, and makeup departments did an amazing job of bringing the story's depth to the stage from blood, mostly-accurate war outfits, and gory prosthetics. The whole crew did a fantastic job of making Macbeth a memorable experience."
-Caden Castillo-Tiernan, School for the Creative and Performing Arts Critic Team
"Although Shakespeare's lines can be hard to say, all of the cast articulated them well and delivered them in a clear way. Acting from Wolf Singer, who played Macbeth, was especially well done as he delivered Macbeth's lines in such a way that showed the audience just how mad Macbeth was becoming. Not only the quality of his lines, but his nonverbal motions, showed how frantic and undone Macbeth becomes throughout the play. A sharp contrast to his madness was Macduff's hard-set determination to take Macbeth down. Macduff, played by Nate Caudill, also did a wonderful job of delivering his lines in such a way that the audience could not only understand what was going on but also feel the pain and sorrow Macduff was going through, especially in the scene where Macduff learns his family has been slaughtered."
-Emma Lane, Colerain High School Critic Team
"Along with the cast's performance, the crew demonstrated their attention to detail and knowledge of each character's motives and emotions. Oran Wilkins, AJ Frecker, and the props crew recreated the iconic scene of Macduff holding Macbeth's dismembered head through their ingenious idea of using a cast of the actor's head. Lael Ingram, the show's choreographer, brought the witches to life as she choreographed the witches hunching and slithering across the stage."
-Maya DeStazio, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team
"Three incredible actors were Macbeth, played by Wolf Singer, Macduff, played by Nate Caudill, and Lady Macbeth, played by Emma Dalton. The relationship changing throughout the play between Singer and Dalton was very interesting and had a lot of emotion behind all of their interactions. The audience could see how Singer and Dalton went from a loving couple to insane and power hungry. Caudill though blew the audience away with every word he said and whatever Macduff was feeling left the audience feeling the same way. The three witches, Josie Leanza, Izzy Lachey, and Clare Graff had a beautiful performance showing curses and emotions through dance."
-Josh Nienaber, Roger Bacon High School Critic Team