Fringe Review : Tempest

I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare, this comes from being forced to read the Merchant of Venice and Macbeth at school, I never really understood the language used and could not figure out why it wasn’t in ordinary English! That of course was many years ago, I’m older and a bit wiser these days and I have seen a number of variations of Shakespeare’s plays. But I have never seen or read The Tempest (I don’t count Forbidden Planet), so this was a new experience for me.

The version I saw was “Tempest” by “Squeaky Door Theatre Company” and from my limited knowledge appeared to be a fairly classical version in that the language and references were for the most part “classical”.

The show opened with the “Tempest” and I did find it a bit disorienting, not knowing who the characters were or what was really going on (apart from the obvious, that a ship was caught in a storm).

As the play progressed I managed to get a grasp of who the characters were and what was going on. It is a testament to the young cast that I managed to follow and enjoy the play as it progressed.

From subsequent reading I understand that there is only one female character in The Tempest (Miranda), however in this version Ariel was played by a woman and I thought that “Ariel” was female, “she” was also accompanied by a number of other female “spirits/nymphs/elements” through-out the play. Although they had no speaking parts they managed to add some “charm” and a bit of humour through their dance-like actions and basic simple noises (they clicked, popped whistled and squeaked as well as giggled).

More humour was provided by the interactions of Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo. I don’t know, how much of the humour provided by these characters came from Shakespeare and how much was added but they almost stole the show, which seems odd as their sub-plot appears to be fairly irrelevant.

To sum up; I did enjoy the show, more than I expected to, I may need to seek out another version of “The Tempest” to see  how this interpretation compares.

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