TSB Showplace, New Plymouth

20/08/2011 - 21/08/2011

Fletcher Building Dome, Hagley Park, Christchurch

25/08/2011 - 28/08/2011

Opera House, Wellington

11/08/2011 - 16/08/2011

Production Details

This one-man vocal spectacular features impressions of over 50 voices from TV’s The Simpsons in a hilarious performance of Shakespeare’s Macbeth! With a script that remains 85% Shakespeare. MacHomer will leave you “exhausted with laughter” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette).  

Wellington 11- 16 August Opera House
Taranaki Arts Festival  
20, & 21 Aug, TSB Theatre, TSB Showplace
Christchurch Arts Festival 25 Aug to 28 Aug    Fletcher Building Dome 



DUNCAN, King of Scotland   Charles Montgomery Burns
MALCOLM, his ‘son’               Waylon Smithers
MACHOMER, Thane of Glamis,
later Thane of Cawdor,
later King of Scotland              Homer J. Simpson
LADY MACHOMER                Marge Simpson
Thane of Scotland                    Ned Flanders
Thane of Scotland                    Barney Gumble
and Thanes of Scotland           Actor Troy McClure
FLEANCE, Banquo's son       Bart Simpson
Murderer#1 Apu Nahasapeemapetilon
An Old Man, Murderer #2        Grampa Abe Simpson
A Doctor, Murderer #3            Otto Mann
A Porter                                    Krusty the Clown
Gentlewoman                           Lisa Simpson
Policeman #1                           Chief Clancy Wiggum
Policeman #2                           Lou
Policeman #3                           Eddie
Kid #1                                       Milhouse Van Houten
Kid #2                                       Nelson Muntz
Kid #3                                       Jimbo Jones
Kid #4                                       Ralph Wiggum
Kid #5                                       Maggie Simpson
Kid #6                                       Martin Prince
Kid #7                                       Rod Flanders
Doctor #1                                 Dr. Nick Riviera
Doctor #2                                 Dr. Marvin Monroe
Doctor #3                                 Professor Frink
Doctor #4                                 Dr. Julius Hibbert
Heckler #1                                Carl Carlson
Heckler #2                                Lenny
Barfly #1                                   Jasper
Barfly #2                                   Bumblebee Man
Rabbi                                        Rabbi Herschel Krustofski
Lawyer                                      Lionel Hutz
Preacher                                  Reverend Lovejoy
Quiz show host                        Comic Book Guy
Frog                                          Kermit
Floozy                                       Edna Krabappel
Thug                                          Snake
Token Scot                               Groundskeeper Willie
Traffic guy                                 Arnie Pie
Short man                                 Hans Moleman
Cartoons                                   Itchy & Scratchy
Director                                     Llewellyn Sinclair
Minority                                     Bleeding Gums Murphy
Paperboy                                  Pimple-faced youth
----- and other special guests ----


HECATE, Witch#1                   Captain McCallister
Witch#2                                     Moe Szyslak
Witch#3                                     Principal Seymour Skinner
Other weird sisters                   Selma & Patty Bouvier
Apparition#1                             Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby
Apparition#2                             McBain
Apparition#3                             O.J. Simpson
Apparition#4                             Sideshow Bob Terwilliger 

A performance athlete whose like you will not often see

Review by Elizabeth O’Connor 26th Aug 2011

Rick Miller is a consummate, agile, brilliant and vocally astounding performer. The story goes (and some or all of this may be apocryphal) that he was playing Second Murderer in a season of Macbeth, and was bored out of his tree. Being in fact a talented and flexible actor, he devised a version of “The Simpsons do Macbeth” for a company party, and was immediately instructed by all and sundry to take the project further. He did. I wish I had been one of the “in” crowd to see that initial show. However raw and maybe forced in places it might have been, the intimate knowledge of the play shared by most present would have pushed them, I imagine, off the edge of hilarity into hysteria.

His audience tonight were (judging from responses) more familiar with “The Simpsons” than with Macbeth. Not being a telly-watcher, I have the barest acquaintance with the characters hijacked to serve, parody and ultimately both embody and dismember Shakespeare’s play, but the burbling undercurrents of mirth around me assured me that Miller’s imitations and distortions were on target.  

How he negotiated his way through the shoals of relevant rights and royalties I cannot imagine, but he has done so, to the point where his inspired enactments are backed by a huge screen of static but superbly timed cartoon backgrounds and Simpson figures. A live camera within the cauldron which forms the only set item feeds images of Miller and of manipulated puppets onto said screen (superb lighting and stage design by Beth Kates).

Only two nights ago, I saw The Loons’ production of Macbeth in Lyttelton, a production which took many liberties with Shakespeare’s original, but none like those which Miller takes here. Apart from performing all the roles in the voices and physicalities of recognisable Simpson world characters, Miller slips in constant anachronisms, comments on the script, the characters, Shakespeare, theatre etiquette, political fashion, the audience, Christchurch and anything else which crosses his field of attention. Themes of greed, ambition, the decay of values and the evolving selfishness of society flow effortlessly between the two worlds.

As the show progresses, the corruption of the text and the conflation of Macbeth/ Shakespeare with pop culture become more and more outrageous. Miller finishes the show by pitching a case for what he has done – then whacks a six out of the ground with an encore imitating the 25 most hated voices (and bodies) in pop music. 

This was rapturously received, which may have reassured Miller a little. Early on, he made a couple of swift comments, wondering whether we “get” funny in Christchurch, but in my estimation, the audience were not uproarious because they were genuinely scared of missing a line or a joke. There were few guffaws before the encore, but a constant steam-kettle purr of amusement, and a most solid final roar of approval. In which I joined. 

I had a grin on my face for the whole show, totally forgave tiny gaffes (perhaps they were intended?) such as The Heath looking like Stonehenge and the Witches sounding Somerset from time to time, and enjoyed the deflation of tragedy which was clearly a main intention of the production. 

Machomer is world class entertainment, and Rick Miller is a performance athlete whose like you will not often see. Seize the chance, if there are any tickets left. 
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Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once

Review by John Smythe 12th Aug 2011

Was this (just) one actor we saw before us – in 50 different personae? By the upping of my thumb, something ‘wicked’ here has come. What a show! And he makes it all look so easy.

MacHomer started as a cast-party sketch for the Repercussion Theatre’s ‘Shakespeare in the Park’ production of Macbeth in Montreal‘s summer of 1994. Rick Miller, who played ‘Murderer #2’, had too much time on his hands, a surfeit of talent (e.g. he has since collaborated with Robert Lepage on a couple of shows) and abiding passions for Will Shakespeare and Matt Groening, whose The Simpsons was into its fifth year.

His premise was, “one dysfunctional family does another” – i.e. the Simpsons do Macbeth. It evolved, took off then, on its 10th anniversary in 2005, it was completely revamped by WYRD Productions, of which Miller is a co-founder and Artistic Director. MacHomer is directed by Sean Lynch, who was also in the Shakespeare in the Park cast. Now “over 500,000 people in 170 cities” have seen it and at last it’s Wellington’s turn.

In a press-kit interview Miller’s response to, “Is Shakespeare rolling in his grave?” includes: “
I think Ol’ Bill would prefer watching MacHomer over some badly acted production of Macbeth.” I agree – and so does Des McAnuff, artistic Director of the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival, who has invited MacHomer to grace the Studio as part of their 60th anniversary season next year.

A Simpsons-style TV set doubles as a steaming cauldron that also houses the odd prop, some cardboard cut-out puppets, a light and a camera that occasionally allows Miller’s face loom large on the big screen behind. He articulates and vocalises the puppets live in an ingenious sequence half way through, building to “Come you spirits … unsex me here.” 

Mainly, however, the kilted and chain-mailed Miller is powering through his bowdlerised version of Shakespeare’s Scottish play adopting 50-odd character voices mostly plucked from The Simpson’s (which plucks guest characters from all over anyway) with minimal but hugely effective shifts in physicality. 

The screen behind is mostly employed to identify Simpsons Characters at their first ‘entrance’ and to establish locations – e.g. Duncan’s castle bears a strong resemblance to Springfield’s nuclear power plant (drawings by Rick Miller and Craig Francis Design).

The ‘casting’ is inspired. Homer J Simpson’s delusions of grandeur and wanting life’s goodies – including pizza, donuts and beer – without having to work too hard for them make him ideal for the title role. And what a surprise that Marge Simpson’s unspellable sigh of strained frustration could so profoundly express Lady M’s struggle to motivate Macbeth to make a regal woman of her.

Charles Montgomery Burns brings a doddery malevolence to Duncan, Barney Gumble lays it on as MacDuff, Ned Flanders is a chirpy Banquo and Bart Simpson moons mischievously as Banquo’s son Fleance..

Relegated to the role of a Gentlewoman, Lisa Simpson can only bleat that “the portrayal of women in this play is morally reprehensible.” Three men – Captain McCallister, Moe Szyslak and Principal Seymour Skinner – are given the Witch roles, traversing a wondrous range of musical genres in the process, while Marge’s actual Weird Sisters, Selma & Patty Bouvier, are reduced to a cameo.

Maggie Simpson features as an extra, one of seven Kids (along with Milhouse Van Houten and Rod Flanders); Kermit appears as a Frog; The Bumble Bee Man is a Barfly … everyone is included somewhere, somehow. Itchy & Scratchy feature in ‘Send in the Crowns’ …

Brilliantly Miller works in topical local references to the Adidas All Black jersey and Wellywood sign fiascos. Yet amidst all this the horrific tragedy maintains its essential moral integrity, true to both Macbeth and The Simpsons, which is anything but trivial in its satirical social commentary. (The media notes claim 85% of the text is Shakespeare’s.)

It all comes to a strong musical finale with a song called ‘Tragedy’.

Orchestrated to a splendid sound design (by Rick Miller), the show has a forward momentum that the audience dares not interrupt with too much laughter, and I can’t help wondering if the earlier versions (before the 2005 revamp) allowed for a more organic, even flexible, relationship with the audience. But nothing can detract from the joy we experience in the presence of such talent.

Then, as if we haven’t seen enough of his genius, Miller offers an encore in which he sings Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by impersonating 26 different singers.

Shakespeare and Simpson’s buffs alike will love it and if you are both … Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News.


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