by William Shakespeare/
The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre, 418 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH to 3 March 2018.
Runs 2hr 5 mins One interval.
0333 066 3366.
Review: William Russell 16 February.
Not quite some enchanted evening
The gimmick is that the cast is all female. One can understand that actors (female) get cheesed off at the relative lack of big roles since they go so often to actors (male). Sometimes this kind of casting works, sometimes not and this production really does not justify the decision to cast all the parts with women. Not all the actors are up to delivering the verse and the comic business involving Caliban, the monster kept by Prospero, the Duke of Milan on exile in a magical isle, and Trinculo and Stefano prove worst of all. Shakespeare’s clowns can often be horribly unfunny and these two are among the less amusing in the canon. The problem is that men would bellow and shout, women screech and their scenes are painful on he ear as well as being direly uncomical. Jo Bartlett is a decent Prospero, Shereener Browne a beautifully spoken Antonio, Carmella Brown a sparky Scottish Ariel and Kate Sketchley a reasonably depraved and unhappy Caliban.
They are clearly all trying hard, but director Dylan Lincoln has not handled his actors (female) particularly well although things do fortunately go at a reasonable lick as Prospero seeks revenge on those who ousted him and his daughter Miranda gets a mate. Nobody convinces as men and if that doesn’t happen what is the point? Giving women a chance to take centre stage in the male dominated classics is a perfectly respectable, indeed potentially exciting, aim but this attempt misses the target.
Stephano: Ceri Ashe.
Prospero: Jo Bartlett.
Ariel: Carmella Brown.
Antonio: Shereener Browne.
Trinculo: Kimberley Capero.
Ferdinand: Hannah Jessop.
Miranda: Michelle Pittoni.
Boatswain/Francisco/Gods: Helga Ragnars.
Gonzalo: Alma Reising.
Alonso: Orla Sanders.
Sebastian: Afzana Sayyed.
Cali ban: Kate Sketchily.
Director: Dylan Lincoln.
Assistant Director: Paul Anthony.
Musical Director: Michael Ensley.
Costume Design: Elise Moor house.
Lighting Designer: Chuma Emembolu.