MACHOMER created and performed by Rick Miller, directed by Sean Lynch (WYRD Productions and Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill). Runs to September 30. $15-$30. 416-866-8666. See Continuing, page 95. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
"Something stupid this way comes," moans Rick Miller halfway through MacHomer , which opened last week at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.
But if stupid is what you're expecting from Miller's one-man journey through Macbeth and The Simpsons, save your dunce cap you won't be needing it.
While stills of Simpsons characters and sets, etched in Matt Groening's trademark style, are projected onto a massive screen, Miller executes the Bard's tragedy with a speed and verve that has the audience wondering if the actor won't have a coronary worthy of Homer's lifestyle.
Miller is an excellent mimic, but beyond his very obvious vocal and comedic skills, he captures the witty, subversive spirit of The Simpsons in his "adaptation" of Macbeth. Like a good Simpsons episode, it has a lot of social commentary and a lot of good jokes. Miller also manages to incorporate a wide gamut of characters, from Disco Stu to the world-weary Mexican bee.
The performer's relentless self-referential musings about stretching an actor's in-joke into a decade-long career and the possible legal implications of messing with the Groening empire not to mention the blasphemy of corrupting Macbeth to such a degree are also well-integrated into the script.
Miller tries too hard sometimes, going for every pun and double-entendre. What's worse is his rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody at the end of the show, sung by as Miller notes "The Most Annoying Voices of All Time."
This "encore," if that's what it is, transforms Miller from culture-jammer to self-indulgent mimic.
It's surprising that director Sean Lynch didn't nix this karaoke act, which undermines a clever and well-paced show that's ideal for anyone with a love for high culture packaged in the guise of low.