The Tempest – Greg Doran for RSC

Perhaps it’s that I’m mentally tired, having just started a new job, perhaps it’s because I enjoyed the York pantomime so much earlier in the week or perhaps it was just the weight of expectation but I didn’t particularly engage with this production.

I loved the stage set with the skeleton of a ship enclosing the stage.  It created a dramatic impact and immediately shipwrecked you on a mysterious island.  And it kept the set simple so attention was focused on the actors.

The problem with the focus being entirely on the actors is that they then have to shine in their roles and I’m not sure they did.  I think, for me, what was lacking was a belief in the relationships between the characters; I didn’t feel either Prospero or Alonso had any sort of paternal bond with their child, that Prospero felt anything more than mild fondness for Ariel or that Miranda and Ferdinand were at all interested in each other.

I thought Ariel was suitably ethereal and liked some of the technology used to make him more so – particularly showing him imprisoned in the tree and as a harpy – but found it a bit distracting when he was visible moving at the side of the stage and could see the time delay from movement to screen.

I really liked the bright colours that flooded the stage when Iris, Juno and Ceres are performing their betrothal masque for Miranda and Ferdinand.  Even though it was probably old-tech creating the effects it still felt a bit magical.

I really wanted to love this production.  It has a great director, fabulous actors and an impressive set.  But, for some reason I can’t quite pinpoint, it didn’t really float my boat!

 

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