Stratford Upon Avon
THE TEMPEST: William Shakespeare
RSC in RST: to 21 January 2017
Barbican, London from 30 June – 18 August 2017
Runs: 2h 45m, one interval
Tkts: 0844 800 1110
Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 27 November 2016
Hard to imagine seeing better done than this.
Earlier this year Gregory Doran headed up a marvellous King Lear; this Tempest makes a perfect partner for it in stature. For a long time we have been noting the detail within which Doran interprets his scripts; in this Tempest, with his focus on the text still tight, he is, you feel, bolder. Prospero is harder, more ruthless with his power, whether it be with those who have wronged him, with Ariel, Caliban, or even Miranda. But against this very real world, Doran ups the power of the magic too (assisted by fabulous digital work from Imaginarium Studios and video work from Finn Ross). Big effects are theatrical and thrilling; on the other hand, no moment is too small to be given its full and valuable meaning. The full complexity and richness of the play unfolds in front of us.
It is a great pleasure to see Simon Russell Beale back in Stratford. He has total command of the space. He can switch like lightening from contemplative to ferocious and deliver the words with subtlety and clarity. His final speech is beautifully pitched bringing resolution to the play and for us – we must retain our humanity, we must understand the power of forgiveness, and we should not reach beyond ourselves as human beings.
A strong ensemble team (another mark of the Doran productions) and so many strong performances it’s difficult to know where to start. Truly moving performances from both Mark Quartley (Ariel) and Joe Dixon (Caliban). Natural, unforced humour from Tony Jayawardena as would-be male-super-model Stephano and Simon Trinder as a fizzing ball of Foolery, Trinculo.
The fluidity and atmosphere of the production is greatly aided by Stephen Brimson Lewis’s designs and Paul Englishby’s amazingly eclectic score.
I truly don’t think I’ve seen The Tempest better done.
(Credits to Follow)