MACHOMER -- "THE SIMPSONS" DO MACBETH written and performed by Rick Miller, directed by Sean Lynch. Presented by Soulpepper with Wyrd Productions at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queen's Quay West). Runs in rep to September 8. $25. 416-973-4000. Rating: NN
i'm all for making shakespeare more relevant to modern audiences -- for those who think he's not already -- but Rick Miller's MacHomer is not the show to do it. It's a one-note gag that's being taken way too seriously.On a stage cluttered for some reason with abandoned TV sets, Miller emerges from a smoking and vaguely supernatural control centre to launch into a 65-minute version of the Scottish tragedy.
For his dramatis personae, he draws on character voices from the animated TV satire. Homer is Macbeth, Marge is Lady M, Mr. Burns is Duncan, and so on. Pictures of the Matt Groening characters flash on a big screen, in case we don't recognize the voices. (And some, believe me, are pretty obscure.)
Miller never explains why he's mixed up the two stories, and it's not as if the Simpsons characters add anything new to the Macbeth characters. Yes, there's lots of plot and a couple of good one-liners (I especially liked the Birnham Wood gag), but the poetry and the Bard's themes go AWOL.
Miller (Present Laughter) is a talented mimic and charismatic, but he's no writer. The "tomorrow" soliloquy ends up being a garbled statement about TV that's completely unearned, and allusions to South Park and the Grinch feel like copouts.
The real tragedy about MacHomer is that there is a play here somewhere. It's just that I'd rather see Groening and company put it on.