Hedgerow Theatre’s lean production stresses the title character’s personal tragedy in a brilliant performance by Jared Reed. Director Dan Hodge’s smart, unconventional editing focuses our attention on Macbeth’s supernaturally charged rise to power and his painful — indeed, almost heartbreaking — realization of his wrongdoing. Reed makes a smart, seemingly noble general, pushed by his ambitious wife (Jennifer Summerfield) and led to ruin by the three witches (Susan Wefel, Rebecca Jane Cureton, Lily Dwoskin). Hodge’s hags are more mischievous than I’ve seen before, appropriately gruesome in World War I-era gas masks, because they send an interloper into Macbeth’s household: David Blatt, in an amalgam of the Porter, a Murderer, and other small characters, becomes their zombie-fied agent, a seemingly loyal servant stirring the chaos. It’s a simple and bold twist that focuses and extends their malevolent mach-inations, and it’s creepy good fun. The entire production feels Halloween-appropriate. Set designer Zoran Kovcic wisely exposes Hedgerow’s vast, rugged stone back wall, giving the whole show a dark, spooky castle feeling. Serious scares and thrills, not that pumpkin-colored kiddie nonsense, are accomplished through streaks of blood, Patrick Lamborn’s throbbing sound design, and Reed and Summerfield in our faces downstage center, eerily lit by Matt Sharp, pouring their evil hearts out to us.
Through Nov. 17, $15-$34, Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Rd., Rose Valley, Pa., 610-565-4211, hedgerowtheatre.org.