Saturday, 17 September 2011
Theatrical Interlude 17
The Tempest, Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London. September 2011
This is the third of four plays that Sir Trevor Nunn is staging at the Haymarket Theatre in 2011 and due to the star one of the hottest ticket around. Thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend we've had seats booked at this for months.
In the end we found it a very mixed performance.
Ralph Fiennes, as Prospero, is amazing. He has such stage presence that even when he is just standing behind a pillar watching the scene unfold I found my eyes drawn to him.
Nicholas Lyndhurst and Clive Wood were also outstanding as Trinculo and Stephano. These are the two comedy roles and they play the roles wonderfully and have a real chemistry together, which continues with the addition of Caliban. It isn't their fault that perhaps Shakespeare wrote one too many slapstick scene.
The other part of the production that really stood out for me was the portrayal of Ariel and the other supernatural creatures. They flew, danced, sand and moved in such a smooth, beautiful way that I really could see them as ethereal creatures rather than actors.
However the rest of the play didn't captivate me in such a way, it felt too episodic. The stories didn't quite make me believe in them and in the final scene where everyone is reunited and wrongs are put right no one on the stage seemed shocked or bothered - there, for me, was no emotion in this bit.
All in all a mixed bag, it certainly wasn't a bad play, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it but I think I prefer my Shakespeare at The Globe where there is more interplay between the stage and the audience (like it would have been when the plays were first performed), and where the actors seem to inhabit the roles rather than declaiming the lines to a dark theatre.