Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Theatrical Interlude 11 (2013)

 The Tempest, The Globe, London. May 2013

The Season of Plenty presented by the Globe is really spoiling us this year, as well as seeing 6 plays at the London theatre I am also hoping to catch another  two as plays tour around the country.

Yesterday's trip was to see The Tempest and the weather forecast wasn't hopeful that we'd avoid our own bad weather...

I saw a version of The Tempest back in September 2011 where I found it a mixed play.  This version blew me away.

From the shipwreck at the beginning to the reconciliation at the end  felt I was an interloper on the island watching the story unfold.  Roger Allam as Prospero was a joy to watch - he played the magician as a kindly father who was trying to right wrongs rather than a cruel enslaver of the spirits on the island.

Unlike in other productions Miranda and Ferdinand were stronger characters than expected - with the lines Shakespeare wrote they are never going to set the world on fire but they showed some spirit and humour.

The scenes with Stephano, Trinculo and Caliban stole the show (especially Caliban) and I think that due to judicious cutting their scenes were just the right length, always funny and never over stretched.

Ariel and the other sprites were otherworldly and used the whole theatre to create their effects, making particular use of the original lines to do this.

The slight flat point for me were the scenes with the King and his followers, although boasting a few of my favourite actors from the Globe their scenes were, for me, underplayed and I almost missed some of the important plot points.

The nature of the play really allowed for audience participation and in jokes - Caliban in particular managed this yesterday as he was amazed by helicopters and interacted wonderfully with the person in a wheelchair at the stage edges being particular highlights!

This version seemed a lot less episodic and much more coherent than the version I saw in 2011 and once more Mr Norfolkbookworm and I came away from the theatre saying that this was the best play we'd seen there! I am pleased to have seen Roger Allam on stage at The Globe after missing him as Falstaff in Henry IV a few years ago.

The weather did smile on us too, and the rain didn't start to fall until the 'curtain' calls!

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