Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Sarah Redmond
Choreographer: Christian Valle
Composer/ Designer: Dan Gillingwater
Reviewer: Cavelle Leigh
This contemporary adaptation of The Tempest, one of Shakespeare’s later comedies, is apparently set in an apocalyptic London. Prospero (drily played by Tom Keller), once the intended Duke of Milan, has been secluded on an island for over a decade with his beautiful and somewhat frisky daughter, Miranda (sweet natured Rebecca Hazel), having been set adrift there by his envious brother, Antonio, and accomplice, Alonso.
Developing magical powers since, he has acquired an at times disinclined though playful spirit-slave by the name of Ariel (the quite beautiful and immensely talented Chipo Kureya). The beastly creature Caliban (a spirited Matthew Harper) also resides on the island. Whereas once they lived harmoniously, with Prospero his teacher, things soured following his attempted rape of Miranda and an embittered Caliban must now act as his servant.
Prospero has devised a plan to throw overboard a party boat on the Thames, known to him to be carrying Antonio, Alonso, Alonso’s brother Sebastian, son Ferdinand and advisor Gonzalo. He does this by inciting the titular tempest. This is effectively presented with dramatic and powerful choreography.
What ensues is a myriad of sub plots as all surviving passengers find themselves roaming the island. Caliban allies with a pair of wildly crazy inebriates (Lucy Harwood and Sy Thomas) who seek to overcome Prospero. Prospero meanwhile match makes his daughter and Ferdinand, played by lusty and besotted Guy Woolf. It is a pleasing revenge, remarks Prospero but one that is far too easy – ‘too light winning make the prize light’. So instead he makes Ferdinand, another of his servants, claiming to suspect him of being a spy as his excuse. Antonio (persuasive Daniel Everitt-Lock) and Sebastian (impressionable Alex Morgan) cunningly conspire to murder both Alonso (who assumes his son is dead) and Gonzalo, so Sebastian can reign as King. The scheme is foiled by Ariel who, along with fellow enchanting Goddesses Ceres and Iris (Anna Britton and Lucy Richards), eventually awaken the characters from under their spell and lure them all before Prospero who, philosophical about all that has happened, finds it within himself to forgive. Miranda and Ferdinand are blissfully betrothed, and Ariel finally set free. A happy ending all around, Prospero can now say goodbye to his magic and to his audience.
Innovative was the application of contemporary music to Shakespeare’s verse, and much of the dancing, indeed ‘a majestic vision’. However modern the colourful costume and stage, there was little to suggest a London setting in particular. Nonetheless a well acted, magical and rather charming production.
Runs until October 26,2014