Skip to main content

The Tempest

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
Three stars

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

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…

Phoebe Waller-Bridge - Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a busy woman. The thirty-two year old actress who burst onto our TV screens as writer and star of Fleabag, the tragi-comic sort of sit-com about a supposedly independent woman on the verge is currently overseeing Killing Eve, her new TV drama which she's written for BBC America. As an actress, Waller-Bridge is also filming a big screen project which we can't talk about, but which has already been outed as being part of the ongoing Star Wars franchise.

These are both pretty good reasons why Waller-Bridge won't be appearing in the brief Edinburgh Festival Fringe revival of the original stage play of Fleabag, when it opens next week at the Underbelly, where it was first unleashed to the world in 2013. In her place, Maddie Rice will take on the role of the potty-mouthed anti-heroine after touring Vickie Jones' production for Waller-Bridge and Jones' DryWrite company in association with Soho Theatre. This doesn't mean Waller-Bridge has turned…

The Divide

King's Theatre
Four stars

Everything is black and white in Alan Ayckbourn's new play, a six hour two part epic set in a dystopian future where men and women are segregated from each other following the aftermath of an unspecified plague. Into this landscape, the secret diaries of brother and sister Elihu and Soween are brought to life by Jake Davies and Erin Doherty with a wide-eyed lightness of touch as their hormones get the better of them when they both hit puberty.
Annabel Bolton's production for the Old Vic, EIF and Karl Sydow begins with a TED Talk type lecture that reveals the back story to how things turned out this way. It ends with a sentimental love story designed to tug the heart-strings. Inbetween, there is teenage rebellion aplenty against the regime's institutionalised repression. Liberation comes through art and sex, which, in such extreme circumstances become even greater life forces.

With both plays told through the siblings' diaries alongside ass…