In the darkness, a Pierrot-faced Ariel pads her way onto a stage littered with a tower of computer monitors. She climbs aloft a box, and with the wave of a hand, conjures up a storm that's beamed out from the screens and made flesh by some very regal looking castaways. So begins Ali de Souza and Katy Hale's look at Shakespeare's late period tale of exile, reconciliation and letting go for Prospero beyond his solitary kingdom, and adult awakenings for his daughter Miranda. There are new freedoms to be explored too for Ariel, as played by Alyssa Wininger, and for Prospero's slave, Caliban, brought to ferocious life by Oystein Schiefloe Kanestrom.
First up, however, is a father and daughter heart to heart between Laurence Pybus' Prospero and Lauren Grace's Miranda, stepping among ship-wrecked bodies splayed out on the shore as they go. Among the debris is Sebastian, played here by Jessica Brindle as the sister of Luke O'Doherty's Alonso. Such gender-bending allows for a hitherto unexplored erotic frisson between her and Wesley Jones' thrusting Antonio, before Brindle changes into a chef's outfit for comic fun doubling up as Stephano alongside Sam McInerney's Trinculo.
Performed by second year RCS acting students, De Souza and Hale's production was first seen in October, when it toured China as part of this year's Beijing College Student Drama Festival. This makes for a set of understandably bedded-in performances, from all those mentioned as well as Adler Hyatt's square-jawed Ferdinand. This is Kanestrom's show, however, as he comes out snarling as a feral, shaven-headed Caliban, off the leash and gorging on every new experience he can.
The Herald, December 10th 2015