Thane of Cawdor Plays the Armory
New York Times, 21 May 2014
It’s hard to believe that Kenneth Branagh is only now making his acting debut on a New York stage.
Then again, much about Mr. Branagh’s career is difficult to process. He wrote a memoir at the age of 28 (called, to be fair, “Beginning”), and he directed a very silly comedy on Broadway (“The Play What I Wrote”) inspired by the double act Morecambe and Wise.
Perhaps the strangest shift is that Mr. Branagh, the wunderkind once considered Laurence Olivier’s heir, is now directing Hollywood action movies (“Thor”). His is a complex, playful career that dabbles in many forms but always returns to what made him famous: Shakespeare.
So it’s no surprise that his first starring role here is as Macbeth, in a critically acclaimed production from England, which he directed with Rob Ashford. Ben Brantley of The New York Times called it “utterly assured and intelligent.” “Macbeth” begins performances May 31 in the Park Avenue Armory’s enormous Drill Hall. (Through June 22. 643 Park Avenue, at 67th Street; 212-616 -3930, armoryonpark.org.)