by William Shakespeare edited by Peter Glanville and Phil Porter additional lyrics by Ben Glasstone.
Little Angel Theatre 14 Dagmar Passage off Cross Street N1 2DN To 15 May 2011.
10am 11, 12 May.
11am 19, 20 April, 7 May.
1pm 27, 28 April, 4-6, 11-13 May.
2pm 15, 19, 20, 22, 29 April.
3pm 16, 17, 21, 23, 30 April, 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 May.
5pm 15, 22, 29 April, 6, 13 May.
7pm 16, 17, 21, 23, 28, 30 April, 1, 8, 14, 15 May.
Runs1hr 15min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7226 1787.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 14 April.
Shakespeare aiming at the young can also catch the older.
His works are said to be for all time and all people, and this week London tests Shakespeare’s malleability. Much Ado About Nothing becomes a hip hop musical, while The Tempest receives the intelligent freshness of Declan Donnellan’s Russian production and the London transfer of this actor/puppet co-production between the Little Angel Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.
There’s a lot of malleability in this alone. For the 7+ it makes the story clear, re-patching as well as cutting, clarifying Prospero’s account to his daughter of their history with a song, adopting clear verse-speaking and gesture-inflected acting.
And some coarse humour: you might have a seagull perch on your head or be vomited upon by Stephano, besides observe the latter empty his bladder into a bucket. And, of course, at not too much + 7, you’ll find all that delightful.
It’s undergone further malleability, moving from Stratford-upon-Avon’s spacious, three-sided Swan stage to the Little Angel – very angelic, but also very little. Swathes of scenery have apparently gone, some moves are more constricted. A backstage team of 12 at Stratford has dwindled to one in Islington. The gain, they say, is intimacy.
Peter Glanville’s music-soaked production isn’t the reimagining of Shakespeare Donnellan’s Russians present. It is the imagining of the work for someone coming to it new, for whom what is said must take shape in the mind, rather than be already-known and subject to analysis in performance.
Yet it has its flights of fantasy. More might have been made of the wedding masque than the outline shadows here. But the island spirits are magical. Little Ariel, a neat gentleman, flits and flies, comes to rest on Prospero’s side – though he can look a toffee-nosed little milord too
Vaster and more magnificent – heart of the show despite a sympathetic Prospero (David Fielder) and Miranda (Anneika Rose) – is the puppet Caliban. Finely voiced, and part-manipulated by Jonathan Dixon, in a single flinch this huge bulbous figure moves from assertion to fear. He is the beaten boy using bullying to hide hurt. More than a human, he is an aspect of all humanity.
Sebastian/Stephano: Brett Brown.
Trinculo/Gonzalo: Ruth Calkin.
Caliban/Alonso: Jonathan Dixon.
Prospero: David Fielder.
Miranda: Anneika Rose.
Ferdinand/Antonio: Christopher Staines.
Ariel: Jonathan Storey.
Director: Peter Glanville.
Designer/Costume: Laura McEwen.
Lighting: David Duffy.
Music: Ben Glasstone.
Movement: Kate Sagovsky.
Text/Voice: Richard Ryder.
Puppets: Lynndie Wright.
Puppetry consultant: Sarah Wright.
Assistant director: Michael Fentiman.
Assistant lighting: Simon Spencer.
Assistant sound: Andrew Franks.