As scarce as rain has been this winter, it arrived just in time for a trip up Interstate 5 to Intrepid Shakespeare Company's theater in Encinitas. The gloom and inclemency seemed perfectly suited to Intrepid's production of Macbeth, which will run through Feb. 16. This incarnation of "The Scottish Play" comes five years after Intrepid opened with same, and it's a swiftly moving, athletic interpretation with no shortage of sound and fury.
The sound effects power the story's melodrama, if sometimes overwhelming the little theater, especially in the first 10 minutes and whenever the three gruesomely made-up witches are doing their witchy thing. But the stage fighting in Act 2 is breathless in its physicality and violence, not only capping the final showdown between Macbeth (Sean Yael-Cox) and Macduff (Patrick Duffy), but hammering home the ruthlessness of the "Thane of Cawdor's" madness-, and Lady Macbeth-, inspired power trip.
For this Macbeth, the stage bisects two facing bleachers of seats, literally placing the cast in the center of the action. The downside is, depending on which side you're sitting on, you may miss some of the characters' lines. (It doesn't help that a few cast members sputter or speak too quickly.) Yael-Cox astutely turns from side to side, alleviating the problem at least as far as Macbeth is concerned.
While Yael-Cox, who played the role in that staging five years ago, is a formidable Macbeth, it's Sandy Campbell as Lady Macbeth who makes the trip to Encinitas well worth it, rain or not. Lovely but lethal, her Lady M. embodies all the deep-seated dark passion of the play. Her sleepwalking scene, manic and haunted, is a triumph.
Correction: The original version of this review mistakenly said that Macduff is played by J. Tyler Jones.