Thursday, 31 March 2016

Theatre 2016: Review Thirteen

The Tempest, Sam Wanamaker Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, London. March 2016.

After seeing such a good production of this in the main Globe a couple of years ago I wasn't certain that I wanted to see this but a friend asked me to go with him and who am I to turn down a trip to the theatre?  Sadly on the day he was poorly and I persuaded Mr Norfolkbookworm to join me.

The play was brilliant, the comedic characters stole the show but at the same time were reined in so that they never overstayed their welcome. For me the highlight was Ariel, she managed to be present on stage and act her role perfectly - she was a mix of petulant, put upon, rebellious and dutiful - the cast interacting with her also deserve praise as they managed to act as if she really was invisible even when she was touching them. Her relationship with Prospero was interesting too as again you weren't sure if she loved or loathed him.

Since studying Shakespeare, and this play in particular, I've learnt so much about the 'behind-the-scenes' stories of the play. The Tempest is apparently all about colonisation and this wasn't something that I had noticed in previous productions, but here it certainly came through for me. Caliban was just a native of the island and certainly was not a monster and he was certainly a victim of a European colonisation.

This production was also interesting as Ferdinand was certainly a stronger character than usual where as Miranda was weaker than others I've seen.  She was however very much the 15/16 year old the play describes but possibly just a touch too modern.

I'm heartbroken that my friend missed this as it is the best Tempest I've seen.  Mr Norfolkbookworm enjoyed the show too but is absolutely convinced that the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is just a form of torture and however tempting the production he'll just cross his fingers that it is released on DVD!

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