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The Tempest


Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
It’s like Wimbledon,” shouts one wag mid-way through the second half 
of Jennifer Dick’s  production of Shakespeare’s island-set elegy, as a 
ground-sheet is dragged across the set after the show is halted two 
thirds of the way in once the rain starts. If ever there was a more 
appropriate play for the annual Bard in the Botanics season of open-air 
theatre, The Tempest is it. It’s a shame that the unseasonal elements 
have been against it to the extent that completing the play before the 
heavens open has been rare.

Because there is much to praise about Dick’s approach, which, by 
concentrating on the play’s magical aspects, looks and feels like some 
long lost off-cut from spectral film-maker Kenneth Anger’s archive. 
This effect is accentuated by a cast whose faces are made up in white, 
and who, when not onstage, observe proceedings as if peering into some 
celestial looking-glass. As he conjures up an imaginary storm on Giggy 
Argo’s wooden shipwreck of a set, Stephen Clyde’s Prospero pulls the 
strings even more than usual, even if much of it plods shapelessly 
along.

By all accounts, the last half hour of Dick’s production is where Dick's
concept really comes into its own, as pretty much all of what’s gone 
before is revealed to be the isolated imaginings of a Prospero adrift 
 from the real world. This sounds like a fascinatingly poignant 
construction that makes total sense of the previous longeurs. Sadly, 
since last Saturday when the ground-sheets were pulled over the set, 
real life storms have prevented Prospero’s magic from even beginning 
their flights of fancy. If the fates allow, this weekend’s final two 
scheduled shows may survive yet.

The Herald, July 6th 2012

ends



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