I know you’ve all got the desire to see what would happen if Homer Simpson were cast as Macbeth. I woke up with it myself this morning, only to find that, when I got my hair cut this afternoon, my stylist was rocking some Marge Simpson hair and crying “out damn spot.” Now, you could watch this clip on Hulu. However, that clip is only 38 seconds long, and to get a full 75 minutes of Shakeson (Simpspeare?) you’d need to watch it 118 times. Something tells me it’d lose its humor about halfway through the second minute.
But that’s okay, because, as luck would have it, you can get a much better experience at the Walton Arts Center this weekend. MacHomer, which the WAC website describes as a “one-man vocal spectacular by Rick Miller” does Shakespeare a pretty funny disservice by casting it only with Simpsons characters. As most of the humor comes from which characters play which roles, and how he re-tools the dialogue to fit them, the impersonations have got to be pretty spot-on in order to make this show a winner. And are they?
For the most part, yes. His Marge is spot-on, as are his Moe, Mr. Burns, Troy McClure, Dr. Hibbert, Flanders, Barney, and tons of other characters I can’t remember off of the top of my head. Seriously, this guy squeezes like 50 Simpsons voices into just over an hour. You could probably fire half of the voice cast for the Simpsons and hire him, and only two people would notice. His Homer I actually found to be one of the weaker voices, but he captures the spirit pretty well, especially when he monologues.
It definitely helps to be a Simpsons fan, because that’s where the majority of the humor came from, but there are some other references, too. There are music jokes ranging from AC/DC and ZZ top to Phantom of the Opera and Les Miz and even a Beatles clip (though its only a part of the sound collage during ‘A Day in the Life,’ so if you’re searching for the Beatles you might want to check out a different review), and jokes on Sonia Sotomayor (that was quick), Quebeçois secession, former president George W. Bush (and that “Oprah” guy who replaced him), and even a jab at the Simpsons, if you somehow happen to hate the show and yet still want to go.
It’s a multimedia presentation, which is helpful, because if you don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Simpsons you might be lost without the pictures they put up of each character. The medievalist in me would like to point out that the interiors depicted in the castle are historically inaccurate, but I doubt any of you are one of the 7 other Medieval Studies kids at the U of A and would therefore care. I will say, that, in its favor, the castle on Dunsinane Hill looks a lot like Edinburgh Castle.
The show is family-friendly, and the biggest laughs by far came from the middle school kid sitting in the front row. It helps to know the plot of Macbeth, but this would be a great way to get your kid to read some Shakespeare.
Also, there’s a pretty awesome encore at the end which is almost worth the price of the ticket by itself. MacHomer has 4 shows—Friday night, 2 on Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. Just be careful that you don’t get mugged by one of those horribly seedy Dickson Street gangs on your way out.
For tickets and more information, check out MacHomer at the Walton Arts Center website.
In full disclosure, MacHomer is presented by Walton Arts Center which is a sponsor of the Fayetteville Flyer. Our tickets to this production were free but our opinions are sincere. Don’t forget to check out our interview with MacHomer himself, Rick Miller.