Macbeth opened on Thursday with a lot of “sound and fury signifying nothing.” Critics lambasted the ill-conceived and dull production, laying the blame heavily at director by Sam Gold’s feet. Even Ruth Negga’s wonderful performance, the star power of Daniel Craig and a talented supporting cast could not overcome the bad directorial decisions to gore-up, confusingly triple cast and blasé-ify what should have been a knock-out production.
New York Times Review of Macbeth
Despite the star power of Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga, the overthought production that opened on Thursday at the Longacre Theater seems unsure of its welcome, as if a classic that has enjoyed nearly 50 Broadway revivals since 1768 might no longer find an audience willing to meet it halfway. … But this relentlessly analytical production, directed by Sam Gold, takes [its essential stageworthiness] apart, offering not so much “Macbeth” as a private inquest into it. … Though the production too often feels as if it were designed for the company’s own edification — an endless rehearsal rather than a Broadway revival — it is not without its outward-facing qualities, especially after the initial throat-clearing. There are beautiful, quietly observed moments: a glance between Craig and Negga, for instance, that says more about marriage than some entire plays on the subject. … But the top note here is gore, the more so because most other notes are muted.
TimeOut Review of Macbeth
Broadway’s 2021-22 comeback season goes out with a shrug in Sam Gold’s production of Macbeth, the kind of passive-aggressive theater party that invites two big stars to attend—Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga as the regicidal title couple—and then makes a point of ignoring them. Short, eloquent, violent and packed with sensational business (murder! witches! madness! ghosts! a decapitated head!), Macbeth is usually one of Shakespeare’s most exciting plays. Not so here: Deliberately murky, this anemic modern-dress production creeps at a petty pace from scene to scene, to the last syllable of the tragedy’s verse and beyond into a wistful folk-song coda. … If you’re superstitious by nature, the two and a half hours that follow might thus be chalked up to bad luck. But it’s clear that Gold has done everything on purpose, however vague that purpose sometimes seems. As in the director’s disappointing 2019 King Lear, dramaturgy usurps pride of place over staging; even if you know Macbeth quite well, the plot is strangely hard to track, and you may find yourself confused by the skeletal mise-en-scène and the doubling and tripling of roles. … It takes considerable grinding to make Macbeth this dull.
Deadline Review of Macbeth
Sam Gold’s staging of Macbeth starring Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga is nothing if not a dynamic attempt to cap an unusual and often extraordinary theater season. Uneven – if not so much as Gold’s 2019 King Lear with Glenda Jackson – and peppered with choices both curious (what, no “double double toil and trouble?”) and captivating (a brief prologue that’s as funny as it is timely), this iteration of The Scottish Play, which opened last night at the Longacre Theatre, nearly holds up to the unavoidable hype of its starry cast. Craig, 007-strong if forcefully one-note in the title role, and Negga – whose transformation from murderously ambitious soldier’s wife to haunted, spot-damning wreck is one of the production’s delights. … [T]his Macbeth promises lots of stage blood, eerie lighting and fog machines (hand-held and cleverly employed), all enhanced by effectively creepy original music.
Hollywood Reporter Review of Macbeth
Perhaps we should have taken a hint from the production’s marketing, which prominently features the names of the stars and director while Shakespeare’s is nowhere to be seen. In retrospect, that seems appropriate, since this is far more Sam Gold’s Macbeth than the Bard’s. … [T]his Macbeth proves so spectacularly misconceived and ineffective that you can practically hear witches cackling in the background. And I don’t mean the ones onstage. It would be erroneous to report that the production suffers from a surfeit of bad ideas, because there are no ideas to be found. Rather, it’s as if the director had assembled his admirably diverse cast and told them to kick around some concepts and let him know what they came up with. Any audience members not intimately familiar with the play may come away thinking that this Shakespeare guy is seriously overrated.
New York Post Review of Macbeth
Witches, regicide, beheadings and descents into madness are made as boring and convoluted as “Quantum of Solace.” The cast robotically yells “yay!” and “boo!” at news delivered by other characters as though in a freshman acting class exercise; they lug around flashlights and smoke machines; everybody sits on two red Wayfair chairs; there’s confusing double and triple casting. And the tragedy ends with all the actors eating stew, smiling and singing a folk song. In “Macbeth”! Director Sam Gold proves, once again, that he does not have a GoldenEye for staging Shakespeare’s plays. … Ignoring the indulgences around her is the wonderful Ruth Negga as power-hungry Lady Macbeth. She has a mellifluous voice — a relief from the chorus of dry deliveries — and the requisite intensity for a woman plotting to murder King Duncan (Paul Lazar) in his sleep. Also committed and rebelliously energized are Amber Gray as Banquo and Grantham Coleman as Macduff. MacD’s emotional outburst when he discovers the fate of his wife and children is a tad over the top, but mostly because the rest of the play has the weight of a potato chip. Nevertheless, their talent cannot redeem this overwrought, underacted Skyfail.