The animals of the Stratford Zoo have a secret. After the keepers are gone, they leave their cages and watch their own Midnight Revue. The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Macbeth is their take on the bard’s famous play. Between them, author Ian Lendler and artist Zack Giallongo have created an enjoyable, funny all-ages graphic novel.
Ian Lending writes a liberal reinterpretation of Macbeth for the animals of the Midnight Revue, with the lion playing Macbeth eating his foes rather than stabbing them and the leopardess playing his wife worries about all her spots. The witches give one of their own advice about her laugh, which they inform her is “A Santa Claus laugh” and a “Little girl being tickled laugh” rather than a proper wicked witch laugh. Meanwhile, venders offer the audience “Peanuts! Earthworms! Ice cold bananas!’ and “Rotting carrion!” The audience offers commentary, praising the witches or wriggling and wondering when they can go to the bathroom. New rhymes are made from old, and Banquo becomes Banksy, a hyena who really loves tacos.
Gialongo provides an array of expressive cartoon animals. Macbeth the lion preens, roars, and tries to fight like the king he is. Young monkeys make their opinions clear through their expressions. An abashed elephant tries to find his seat, much to everyone’s annoyance. The scenery is brightly colored and clearly designed for the occasion. He varies panel size, presenting everything from a full-page spread of Macbeth making up his mind to a series of scattered smaller panels showing Macbeth’s activities.
It’s funny, lively, and marvelously creative. It also looks like the revue will be back in future books with more plays by Willy Shakespeare. Recommended for those who like Shakespeare, might love Shakespeare at some point in the future, like to laugh, and who enjoy silliness and wordplay.
The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents Shakespere will be published September 30, 2014.
Hardcover, 80 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014
Publisher: First Second
ISBN: 1626721017 (ISBN13: 9781626721012)