If you've ever wondered what kind of take "The Simpsons" cartoon characters might have on Shakespeare, now's your chance.
Canadian actor Rick Miller impersonates some 50 characters from the long-running series in "MacHomer," his clever one-man version of "Macbeth" now running at the Gallo Center for the Arts.
If any of the actors from "The Simpsons" ever quit, the producers should call Miller to fill in. He nails the voices for everybody, switching effortlessly from Homer to Marge to Mr. Burns and beyond.
He performs in front of a large screen that flashes pictures of the different characters in their Shakespearean costumes. We get to see Homer in a crown fitted with cans of beer and a floating dagger that Homer imagines as a pizza. To spice things up, Miller occasionally switches to using puppets.
Amazingly, he manages to use much of Shakespeare's dialogue while lightening it up with humorous asides and pop culture references. The story is sometimes hard to follow because Miller moves so fast, but a synopsis is printed in the program for those who want it.
As directed by Sean Lynch, it's possible to just enjoy the show from the physical comedy standpoint. Miller makes a lot of goofy expressions, does some silly disco dancing and acts out a fight between two of the main characters -- by himself.
For a fun finale, he throws in a hilarious non-Shakespeare-related performance of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" as sung by Bob Dylan, Jon Bon Jovi, Johnny Cash and other unlikely singers.
But Miller seems swallowed up by the big Foster Theater stage. His simple production, which consists of some pumped-in smoke, a spotlight, a large screen and a smaller TV, probably would be more effective in a more intimate cabaret setting.
After a while, Miller's shtick can seem a bit much. At times his show reminded me of a "Saturday Night Live" skit that runs on a little too long.
Still, Friday's opening night audience seemed more than pleased. They laughed and cheered throughout and some people gave Miller a standing ovation at the end.
You've got to hand it to Miller for coming up with a creative concept that combines high culture with mass appeal entertainment.
Bee arts writer Lisa Millegan can be reached at 578-2313 or firstname.lastname@example.org.