Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Adrian Noble
Reviewer: Shane Morgan
The Public Reviews Rating:
The Isle is full of noises as we are told by the captive Caliban. The shipwrecked Ferdinand also speaks of fury and passion. These extremes are dealt with throughout what is arguably Shakespeare’s final play.
Adrian Noble’s production focuses on discovery. From the shipwrecked nobles through to the island’s residents, all of the characters go through a journey of discovery and Noble’s production, alongside Ralph Funicello’s design allows for the scope of the piece to be fully realised.
From the opening shipwreck, it is clear that the Milan nobles are entering a world that is out of their control. The sound and fury of the storm overwhelms the scene and the look of the piece becomes reliant on sprites wafting clothes to convey the storm and an ever present multi-purpose giant blue backdrop to act as the tempest.
Once on the island, the tempest continues with everyone on high alert from the start. Prospero (Tim Pigott-Smith) and daughter Miranda (Iris Roberts) chew the high alert fat about their history. Roberts’ Miranda is full of energy, tom-boyish and wide-eyed which is a relief after so many waifish, dreamy Miranda’s that have come before her. Whilst Pigott-Smith is polished and commands attention, his Prospero doesn’t quiet carry the weight of someone who has been stranded on an island against his will.
The show has a variety of tricks including an Ariel (a blue Jedward styled Mark Meadows) on stilts, puppetry and a skilfully choreographed tap dancing routine that almost steals the evening. Whilst each set piece is well placed, it doesn’t quiet gel and feels like separate ideas rather than a well conceived whole.
The Stephano/Trinculo comic relief comes with well-honed status play, innuendo and verve from Geoffrey Freshwater and Mark Hadfield. Whilst Caliban (Matt Ryan) is a little too John Merrick at times, his Isle speech proves to be one of the evening’s most beautiful moments; underplayed, simple and thoughtful.
This is a very accessible version of The Tempest. Everything is clear, thought through and simple in structure. You won’t get loud noises or much fury or passion but you will get a dream like story that leaves a clear impression of what the play is about.