Friday, 18 March 2016

FOUR Star review for The Tempest, Sam Wanamaker Theatre

IT'S a case of sad goodbyes at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the moment. Not only is the last of the season's "late" Shakespeare plays, The Tempest, being performed on the bijou stage but it's also Dominic Dromgoole's swansong. After 10 years as the Globe's artistic director he's setting sail and off to pastures new - much like Prospero in the play he's retiring from the fray and handing things on to the next generation.
But enough of the sad stuff, this is a production oozing with humour, beautifully staged and totally magical.
In fact it is a joyous experience and the sense of fun that is part of Dromgoole's personality is very much to the fore as the play comes alive in the small space.
Right from the off, drums crash and pound in the gallery above signifying the storm which wrecks the ship carrying Prospero's brother Antonio onto the island on which Prospero found himself and raised his daughter Miranda.
Here they live with the spirit Ariel and Prospero's slave Caliban who lives in a prison under the stage.
With all the candles and live music it's an extremely atmospheric and intimate production.
The cast was excellent notably Phoebe Pryce as Miranda, Fisayo Akinade’s Caliban and a stunning performance by Pippa Nixon as the etherial and suitably spirited Ariel.
The drunken and rowdy clowning around by Trevor Fox as Stephano and Dominic Rowan as Trinculo was a highlight particularly Trinculo's generous ad libbing.
But it was the central performance by Tim McMullan as Prospero that was the real stunner and so fantastic to see him in such a prominant role.
Pure magic.

The Tempest is at the Sam Wanamaker Playerhouse, Bankside, until April 22. Visit for full listings

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