Lange 2By Jay Blotcher, BGHV Theater Critic & Culture Vulture

If you consider Shakespeare the theatrical equivalent of eating spinach, time to think again.

The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck has mounted a production of the tragedy Macbeth that is a feast for the eyes and mind. Sure, there’s lofty speeches and the pageantry. But this production, directed by Lou Trapani, also possesses great contemporary touches. Lady Macbeth dresses like a diva by way of Stevie Nicks. Guns are used even though it’s the 1600s. And BGHV readers will love Macbeth’s ragtag band of soldiers. Their uniforms are part-camouflage, part-punk and have tattoos and leather vests. And some are very easy on the eyes, guaranteeing that reluctant theatregoers will sit up and take notice! (How do you say “woof” in Elizabethan English?)

This production has it all: a gloomy, forbidding set by veteran NYC scenic painter Richard W. Prouse (who has painted scenery for the upcoming Broadway musical Spider-Man). The aforementioned costumes. And blood and beefcake. A shout-out to BGHV reader Bill Ross, who plays Lady Macbeth’s guard. He dresses like a regular from a 1980s leather bar: shirtless, in leather chaps and nipple rings. Heavy-lidded bearded bear Rick Lange (think Oliver Reed as the evil Bill Sykes in the 1968 film Oliver) plays the doomed Scottish King Macbeth as a man possessed. Lisa Lynds is haughty and divine as Lady Macbeth. The supporting cast gives it all in this intense, emotionally exhausting (and trimmed-down at two hours) version of a classic of world theatre.

Good theatre, good fashion, awesome scenery and hunky men. What are you waiting for?

Macbeth plays three more performances on April 16-17-18, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Tickets: $20 adults; $18 seniors, children. For more info, click here.