The Tempest by William Shakespeare
Performed during 2011
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Reviewed by Peter Steptoe for The Croydon Advertiser
Taking the Bard to new heights
Coulsdon Theatre Workshop (sic) is an adventurous group and I congratulate them on doing Shakespeare. I admired the airship but did not think it added much except give us an ‘in the round’ effect, with the audience on both sides and the ship down the middle. The plot concerns magic, sprites and other improbabilities so that the past is better when far distant.
There were some excellent performances, particularly by Richard Lloyd as Prospero. He well understood the speech patterns required of blank verse and had the additional advantage of a voice that exuded gravitas. Rachel Handler as the sprite Ariel I assume was trained as a dancer and with her balletic grace gave excellent characterisation to her part.
Steve Jacobs as Caliban the slave was suitably twisted in body and mind and I enjoyed his Uriah Heepish subservience in the foot kissing scene.
Shakespeare’s comedy does not often travel well, but Luke Argles as Stephano the drunken butler combined well with Trinculo (Steve North) the court jester. They were a sort of superior pantomime ‘Brokers’ Men’.
Dawn Lock and Paul M Ford directed competently but more attention might have been paid to a greater variety of tone and thus have given more weight to ‘the ivory towers and cloud capped palaces’ of Shakespeare’s verse. Nevertheless, it was a very gallant attempt at a difficult play.
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