Something funny this way comes as Rick Miller gets set to perform his clever one-man MacHomer mash-up, that sees the worlds of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and televisions The Simpsons collide, on stage at the Vancouver Playhouse this weekend.
With the unspoken blessing of Simpsons creator Matt Groening, Miller flies under the radar of copyright infringement as he brings the bulk of his shows to students across the country, but with each stop also comes a few public performances. I had the opportunity to sit in on one of his student matinees this week for this review.
Over the course of its rather short 75 minutes, Miller shows off some impressive vocal gymnastics as he infuses one of the Bard’s greatest tragedies with more than 50 Springfield residents and beyond (watch for cameos from the likes of OJ Simpson, Sean Connery and even Groening himself). Without missing a single beat, Miller jumps from Marge (Lady MacHomer) to Banquo (Ned Flanders) to King Duncan (Mr Burns) until what seems like every character Groening and his team have ever committed to an animation cell makes an appearance.
Even with its short run time, however, Miller can only sustain the goofy concept so long, even asking the audience at one point if perhaps the premise wears a little thin. But while things might start to feel a little repetitive, it doesn’t last long as Miller pulls in a number of topical issues, pop-culture references and even a hilarious musical recap mid-way through the show.
Assisted by projections of each of The Simpsons characters as they are introduced in their roles and the clever use of some live video, Miller bring such Homerisms as “to beer or not to beer” and “is that a doughnut I see before me” to cartoon life on stage.
At the student performance I saw, Miller started by asking the audience how many hated Shakespeare. Not surprisingly, given the demographic, there was a huge postive response to the question. He then said he hoped that MacHomer would make them hate him just a little bit less. It did and it does.
Created and performed by Rick Miller. Directed by Sean Lynch. A Wyrd Production. On stage at the Vancouver Playhouse May 14 & 15. Visit http://www.vancouverplayhouse.com for tickets and information.