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A review by Vanessa Bunn for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

 

The Tempest

 

Ariel (Colin Morgan) and Prospero (Roger Allam)
(c) Marc Brenner

by William Shakespeare

Directed by Jeremy Herrin

Designed by Max Jones

Composed by Stephen Warbeck

Choreographed by Siân Williams

 

Shakespeare’s Globe

 

23 April – 18 August 2013

 

The stage at the Globe is a rocky island and a fierce storm is conjured by the usurped Duke of Milan. He has developed immense learning and sorcery skills since he and his infant daughter were put out to sea and his Dukedom stolen, some twelve years previously. This tempest is raised to bring a ship carrying his deceitful brother Antonio (Jason Baughan), King Alonso of Naples (Peter Hamilton Dyer) and Antonio’s son Ferdinand (Joshua James) to ground. Once this mission has been accomplished various subplots begin to unfold and the island becomes a hub of activity ranging from drunken shenanigans to romantic exchanges and ultimately a profound lesson in forgiveness and forgetting.

Roger Allam is as perceptive and accomplished a Prospero as one could wish for. His relationship with his now teenage daughter Miranda (Jessie Buckley) is particularly powerfully presented and both assume a fondness and joviality with one another that is genuinely warming. The whimsical, natural stage presence exhibited by Buckley also makes for a captivatingly capricious romance when she happens upon Ferdinand (Joshua James). With the encouragement of her father and his desire for her to return to Milan and claim her rightful status, she begins a romantic affair with him, comically, as much because he is a man as for any particular virtue she holds dear.

 

 

Miranda (Jessie Buckley) Prospero (Roger Allam) and Ferdinand (Joshua James)
(c) Marc Brenner

 

 

The script of what is widely considered to be Shakespeare’s last play is laden with fine examples of both wonderful insults and tender exchanges. It is safe to say that not one such moment is lost in this astonishingly consistent company. Jeremy Herrin’s direction definitely teases more of the comedy than the darkness from The Tempest but his interpretation is solid and appealing nonetheless. Antonio is a somewhat muted menace; Caliban (James Garnon) seems to revel in audience interaction to such an extent that the burden of his unfortunate confinement and general treatment is lightened for him. The magic which has the potential to rival that in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus is also relayed with a tender touch. Prospero is an unassuming sorcerer and the Spirits have an almost invisible lightness in their steps, even when manoeuvring curious, large props.

 

 

Caliban (James Garnon)
(c) Marc Brenner

 

Colin Morgan’s Ariel is wonderfully weird, his supposed quest for freedom hardly believable as his dedication to Prospero reigns. Though softly spoken and ethereal, he commands attention and is a captivating presence. This is no easy task to accomplish at The Globe but Morgan is not confined to the stage by any means and his nimble amblings around the periphery are the most striking element of his otherworldliness, setting him apart from the somewhat more rooted mortals.

 

 

Ariel (Colin Morgan)
(c) Marc Brenner

 

Trunculo (Trevor Fox) is hilarious in gait, speech and costume. He is farcical, and persistently so. When he teams up with Stephano (Sam Cox), Caliban and a miraculously, seemingly unlimited, supply of wine there is a distinctly vaudeville feel about the ensuing confusion and frustrated fancies. The costumes are exceptional throughout this production, from the shipwrecked gang of Jacobin courtiers (all crushed velvet and gold jewellery) to the distinctly avian Ariel (all pale feathers and hair gel).

Closing scenes at the Globe have the same warming effect as a hug from a beloved grandmother. Authoritative, comforting and delightful, they own your emotions and can leave you skipping out the front gates, secure in the knowledge that something dear and irreplaceable is safe and well. The Tempest is no exception and providing the weather leaves the storm effects to the very capable band, a triumphant run is imminent. Don’t pass up an opportunity to be part of it.

 

 

Prospero (Roger Allam)
(c) Marc Brenner

 

 

Booking: 020 7401 9919
www.shakespearesglobe.com
Tickets: £5 - £39
Shakespeare’s Globe
21 New Globe Walk
Bankside, London, SE1 9DT
 

 

 

 

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