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POSTED: 06 JANUARY 2010

MacHomer

Wyrd Productions, Merrigong Theatre & Sydney Theatre Company | Wharf 2, Walsh Bay, Sydney | Until 23 Jan

Could it be possible? Could one man really retell Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Macbeth in 75 minutes — using the voices of characters from The Simpsons?

As Ned Flanders might say: abso-tively.

Rick Miller is a Canadian performer and the Artistic Director of Wyrd Productions. He is also amazingly energetic, hilarious and talented.

Dressed in kilt and scuffed boots, Miller recounts the Scottish play with assistance only from a very clever multimedia presentation. Miller works like a dervish to keep up the pace and astounds with his capacity to not only remember the entirety of his very special abridged version, but alternate character voices with split-second precision and riotous clarity.

Even before entering the theatre, I was chuckling in anticipation of the cast list. Barney Gumble as MacDuff; Marge Simpson as Lady MacHomer; Monty Burns as Duncan; Groundskeeper Willy as Token Scot; and, of course, Homer in the title role.

Of course, if you’re not a Simpsons fan, or you don’t know the characters well, this production may be largely lost on you. However, even as a study of comedic timing and the boundless possibilities of creative madness this would still be a very entertaining evening.

Shakespeare purists would likely recoil in horror, but Miller muses that some parallels can indeed be drawn ... albeit with a very long bow! As Shakespeare endeavoured to throw a satiric light upon Elizabethan society, so does Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, use his yellow boggle-eyed characters to lampoon much of what is ridiculous in the present day.

MacHomer has played to international critical acclaim and its Australian season is a gloriously silly and amusing way to begin the year. Indeed, Macbeth’s observations on life are just as pertinent for MacHomer:

“It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Well ... nothing but a terrific night out. And wouldn’t the Bard love that?

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