“Shakespeare collides with Monty Python in Ryan J-W Smith’s award-winning raucous verse comedy.”
Written entirely in rhyming iambic pentameter, Ryan J-W Smith‘s sixth verse play, ‘MacDeth!’, lovingly parodies Shakespeare’s MacBeth while asserting itself as a modern verse comedy classic in its own right.
Winner of 2 Hollywood Fringe Awards!
MacDeth! received nothing but glowing adulation from critics and audiences at its world premiere at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival. Such was its popularity, many audience members paid full price to squeeze into the over-sold auditorium just to sit on the floor or stand to see the show.
It was no surprise when MacDeth! won the coveted Hollywood Fringe International Award for best international show. This is the second year running Ryan J-W Smith was awarded the prize – his third verse play, the multiple award-winning ‘Love Labours Won’, won it in 2015 with Smith again writing, directing and starring. Among countless other accolades, MacDeth! was also awarded an Encore! Producers’ Award and was nominated for the Comedy Award.
In August and September 2016, MacDeth! thrilled London audiences touring three prestigious venues: The Cockpit; the Headliners Comedy Club and the King’s Head Theatre.
Written in just six days!
How long does it take to write a multiple award-winning comedy in rhyming iambic verse? It took Smith just six days over Christmas 2015 to write MacDeth!. Ryan puts his unequalled speed down to years of practice – along with his 5 other verse play, he has now written over 1,500 Shakespearean sonnets. The first 500 of Smith‘s Shakespearean sonnets were published in 2012 in the critically acclaimed volume, ‘500 Shakespearean Sonnets: the diary of a poetic quest for truth’.
June 2016. For the 2nd year in a row, Smith was awarded the coveted Hollywood Fringe International Award
“SHOWS TO SEE – MacDeth! …lighten up the classic study in evil with a touch of Monty Python”TIME OUT
“MacDeth! is outrageous, clever, political, disgusting, hilarious! This show is a MUST SEE! It’s brilliant… I loved it!”
“The reinventions keep coming… from the iconoclastic British writer and poet, Ryan J-W Smith”CULTURAL WEEKLY
“MacDeth! is a clever and hilarious Monty Pythonesq send up of The Great Bard’s classic tale of ‘MacBeth’. The script, written by Ryan J-W Smith in rhyming Shakespearean-style verse, is nothing short of brilliant.
Writer and director, Smith’s turn as MacDeth exhibits an obviously accomplished actor of impeccable comedic timing and presence, boldly leading his ensemble to the promised land – a full house and standing ovation.”LA STAGE REVIEWS
GOLD AWARD! – “Ryan J-W Smith’s painfully clever, pugnaciously subversive, and decidedly funny sendoff of Shakespeare’s Scottish play”THE TVOLUTION
MacDeth! – Editor Picks!BLOG CRITICS
“We saw MacDeth! Highly recommend this one-of-a-kind show!”THE VAGRANCY
“WHAT TO SEE FOR SURE – MACDETH! – a wild comedy of errors”LA WEST MEDIA
“Fringe award-winner Ryan J-W Smith, no stranger to the words of the Bard, offers up an abbreviated version of the the Scottish Play that races along at lightning speed, peppered with comedic asides and modern references.”Arts Beat LA
The UK Shadow Secretary of State, Emily Thornberry, joins the chorus of approval in loving MacDeth! 🙂
Once again, Ryan J-W Smith makes me jealous of his writing talent, his performance talent, and his casting talent. Taking a riff on the Scottish king this round with a few minor (major… they’re major) twists, Smith and his cast spit the witty dialogue so smoothly one assumes they’ve been rehearsing for months. The cauldron shots are a nice touch (in every possible way). Go – especially if you’ve never seen a Ryan J-W Smith show before – looking forward to THE BARD GETS HARD!Matt Ritchey
I loved the sharp rhyming wit of the dialogue and the bawdy humor that was embraced throughout the duration of the play. I was also pleasantly surprised by how The Witch redefined and added to my understanding of the iconic Shakespeare character. It was an entertaining play that both amused me and made me think. The humor was fast-paced, but every once in awhile there was time for careful thought and reflection as numerous characters gave beautifully worded political speeches. These political undertones helped connect Shakespeare’s centuries-old plots and themes to our current era. Nothing bothers me more than when I leave a production asking myself, “What was the point of all that?” Luckily, the only thing I asked myself after MacDeth was, “How could so many clever rhymes fit into one play?!”Dominique Resendez
Fun, irreverent and dare I say … Sexy. Or as MacDeth would say … Shexshee.Patrick Duncan
The players master the witty text and brought life to Shakespeare in a delightful way. I believe Shakespeare himself would have appreciated this fresh parody of Macbeth. Most notably, the Witch and the actor who played Macduff (amongst multiple other characters) were standouts. Again, the writing they had to work with was second to none, completely original and aware of its time and audience, but they had me laughing harder then I have in a while. I also very much appreciated the poingnant moments; bold, well structured, extremely compelling. As an ensemble, these players are tough to beat. This is a strong group of well directed actors that truly love their craft. The banter they added with the audience was a brilliant move that kept us involved and focused. Fringe in purest form. Huge Shakespeare nut, and this show made me love Macbeth even more. Thank you!Dan Sugi
Good acting, hilarious, poetical, loved the couplets! Will be back to this space, and will watch for this playwright. Going to see his other one this month also.Betsy Wilson
The value of the entertainment was well worth the price of the ticket. The play was progressive, thought provoking, funny, substantive playful and simple to follow. The actors are all talented and the sparse stage setup put the audience focus on the acting rather than on fancy sets. The Witch in drag as a character and the storyteller – much like the conductor in Our Town – was a great touch!Michael Garcia
The show was very funny and the actors were wonderful.John Diehl
The talented cast took charge of this ensemble driven parody. Performances were fantastic all around. Particularly those who played the Witch, Macbuff, and Lady Macdeth. The original verse was clever and the campiness was enjoyable. It’s clever and high energy. The abundantly talented cast made me laugh out loud many times, which is a plus, and most importantly — it was always interesting. Go see it!Chloe Fuller
Rarely has a standing ovation been more richly deserved than after last night’s electrifying performance of Rogue Shakespeare Company’s MacDeth. From first entering the theatre where the absence of a fourth wall encouraged interaction and, sometimes, participation between cast and audience, this multi-talented group of actors kept us in their thrall. Ryan J-W Smith’s text, written in rhyming iambic pentameter, sizzled with innuendo while at the same time making very astute and insightful social and political commentary. The production never allowed the audience to slip into complacency as the performances swung from parody to realism without warning. Overall, this production was a triumph and the ensemble teamwork was outstanding.Judy Morrell
Amazing fun and clever writing. The show had me engaged and laughing from the beginning, yet I could still thread a Shakespeare story throughout! Terrific ensemble. Everyone was spot on. This show is intelligent, clever, and satisfying! I’ve told everyone about the show.Scott Sanders
Intertwining Shakespeare and original dialogue, all in rhyming verse. Pure genius and talent! And portrayed so well by this charming cast. So many stars! Macbeth may never be seen the same again. Shakespeare from comedy to tragedy and back again, all in one play for a solid engaging 65 minutes. It has it all – cute, clever, funny, serious, queer, and HOT! What a cast and talented writing. I want to see more by this writer and actors. Bring it all on!Gary Booher
Witty and funny with a relevant political bent! The actors, especially the witch, are great, and the rhyming is amazing! I liked everything! Witty and amusing, a fun night out!Mindy Pfeiffer
A hall of Shakespearean mirrors of hoot, stroke jokes galore, Brits amongst us, the funniest soliloquy about acting, and a whole lotta fun bardish mugging, rhyming, and emoting in the shadow of the actual Elizabethan text. The packed audience liked it a lot as did I. A bardish hoot that both Rupaul and Sean Connery would love.Bill Ratner
A well acted and very good show. The witch steals scene after scene. Shakespeare – check — parody — check — meta Shakespeare where they make fun of “the bard” — check check…a fun well acted play!Mike Rizzo
Clever twist on Macbeth – easier to sit through than the real thing… LOL. Loved the witch and her wand and the clever ways to make up for missing cast members. Brilliant way to blend comedy with serious moments. A fun time. Good twist on a classic.Gabriela Sosa
I loved the writing; the lines were flawless and well-delivered by a talented young cast. The play moved very quickly, an hour felt like thirty minutes. The writing was superb. The scenes flowed beautifully from one to the next, each actor taking their turn to amuse, abuse and bewitch us. It was all done with a good bit of fun. The playwright confronted us with political satire cast onto the stage like a sing-song grenade only to double us over a moment later with hilarity. I loved that the witchy narrator connected with the audience, its neat to have that type of interaction in the midst of performance to make you feel drawn into the action and excitement – and drawn in I was! I highly suggest seeing this one.Scott Diehl
“Come see us destroy Shakespeare’s Scottish Play!” they said. “It’s a comedic version of the play,” they promised. For days, people in kilts had been (nicely) assaulting me whenever I was trying to get to a play on Theater Row. Finally, like the indoctrination of a new cult member, I gave in and went to see this play. And I am very, very glad I did so.
Because Macdeth is an absolutely brilliant experience. From the opening audience interactive moment to its closing monologue, this is a true parody of Shakespeare’s Scottish tragedy. The plot, then, you know….or do you? Because this version attempts to tell the story by combining the style, form and language patterns of Shakespeare with the concepts, technology and words from today.
That’s no easy task—and yet the play pulls it off admirably. Ryan J-W Smith’s script is GREAT, a witty and fast-moving thing that seems to always be at the edge of escaping its cast and yet is actually ALWAYS within the meter and rhyme. It’s as much fun listening for how it remains on point as it is listening to what’s happening in the plot. Brand new writing, only vaguely inspired by the original Shakespeare, most of it completely new….and yet IN imambic pentameter. What reason here would there not be to like it plain as day? (Not the least of which is his writing is infinitely better than what I just wrote there!)
The acting is top-notch. Adult, with adult tones and bawdy moments and even some violence (because it’s a tragedy, of course)—but all of it designed to serve towards the goal of giving an audience a great time. And that’s, I think the greatest compliment I can give this show—that it’s a GREAT show designed to give an audience a GREAT time. I think audiences in Shakespeare’s time would have loved it just as much (if they understood the cultural references), because that’s what Shakespeare was also doing as far as he was concerned. And this show replicates exactly what Shakespeare tried to do—give an audience a rousing amount of entertainment when they came to see his show. Well done, indeed.Erik Blair
We have seen the show three times! It just gets better and better each time catching bits that got missed the time before due to laughter and fantastic content. Looking forward to seeing it again too. It deserves to be enjoyed by all if you are thinking ‘maybe’ just go you will not be disappointed. Well done to all. Thank you for sharing your talent.Mandy Grater
@macdeththeplay was such great fun tonight. Well done to the cast!— daniel harvey (@dancharvey) September 8, 2016
Loads of giggles last night with @macdeththeplay! Sean Connery will be proud!— Alice Doyle (@maiatzm) September 9, 2016
Great wednesday night fun at @macdeththeplay at the King's Head. Innuendo and ropey Sean Connery impersonations, what's not to like?— Murray Mitchell (@MurMitchell) September 7, 2016
Having seen MacDeth! on its first night during its run at The Cockpit, the wonderful Mark Bentley – West End producer of the massive comedy hits The Play That Goes Wrong, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery and Peter Pan Goes Wrong shows his support by helping MacDeth’s creator, Ryan J-W Smith flyer MacDeth! in central London.