Murder, deception, greed for and corruption of power. What’s not to like about Shakespeare’s “Macbeth?”

The Rogue Theatre’s current production serves up plenty of violence and a cast that embraces the language.

And the production, directed by Matt Bowdren, features some oh-wow moments:

  • The witches, in grotesque masks, prowl animalistically around the stage, spewing ominous predictions about Macbeth. Mist engulfs the space, thunder rumbles, lightning threatens. Holly Griffith, Claire Hancock and Grace Kirkpatrick make it clear: These witches are not to be trifled with. They captured us and did not let go.
  • The stage became almost electric when David Weynad’s King Duncan appeared. He infused the character with so much intent, so much nuance and so much life that we immediately regretted that Macbeth was going to kill him so early in the play.
  • Shakespeare’s gorgeous language glided from the mouths of the actors. They understood what they were saying and how to say it — not always a given when actors perform works by The Bard.

That last, however, is also what we found lacking in the production: Many played the language and not the characters. We longed for more personality, something beyond the language that would help us know and care about these characters. As a result, there was a flatness to the April 29 opening performance.

That isn’t to say this is a bad production — it isn’t. It is a fine one. But we have seen what The Rogue is capable of; we just wish it had been so much more.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 14; there’s are additional 2 p.m. Saturday matinees on May 6 and 13 at The Rogue Theatre, 300 E. University Blvd. in the Historic Y. Tickets are $35. TheRogueTheatre.org or 551-2053.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@tucson.com or 573-4128. On Twitter: @kallenStar