The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe
The layout and design of the stage is subtly perfect in the current production of The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe. The décor and magnificence of the space isn’t hindered by Max Jones’ vision. Red rocks base the iconic stage’s pillars and the upper level protrudes over the thrust with the traditional band’s pit behind, near the Gods. It is clever, functional and digestible.
Jeremy Herrin directs an apt cast who are obviously enjoying every second of play. Roger Allam’s Prospero is exquisitely energised vocally, capturing the entire auditorium with grace and ownership. At moments he sits and observes the drama unfolding from the stage’s balcony, and yet you can’t miss him. The physicality of James Garnon’s Caliban is so precise, yet so wounded – his mannerisms repulse you but he still evokes empathy and connects sensitively with his audience. The collaboration of Caliban, Stephano (Sam Cox) and Trinculo (Trevor Fox) is perfect casting: they are simply hilarious and utterly relaxed in their objectives and work. The humour is effortless, and Cox’s accessing and handling of the textual comedy, in particular, is ingenious. Joshua James’ Ferdinand and Jessie Buckley’s Miranda also complement eachother on stage, where their puppy love is charmingly laugh inducing and very sweet.
What strikes most about this production is how human Herrin has made it. The assumption that the mystical creatures are bizarre and wondrous – and very often the humans mistake Miranda (Jessie Buckley) for being immortal – is often played upon. But it is the simplicity of the cast’s portrayal that makes the story more and more engaging. Colin Morgan’s Ariel, is tall, graceful, and calm spirited. His expression is controlled and, with this, majestic and spellbinding. His natural height and obvious flexibility support these choices, but he has absolutely made this well known character his own and succeeded in doing so.
Herrin’s production incorporates traditional folk music, put together by Stephen Warbeck, which is appropriately timed and works well with the characters. Herrin inspires simplistic beauty with this production and, despite The Tempest often being considered one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, he finds the relatable funniness in nearly all of his characters within the mystical world they all share.
Photo: Marc Brenner
The Tempest is on at Shakespeare’s Globe until 29th June 2013, for further information or to book visit here
Watch the trailer for the Globe’s Season of Plenty 2013 here: