Review: The Tempest

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrong Tree’s ‘The Tempest’ sees the company start the year with a flourish. Their interpretation of Shakespeare’s comedy is gorgeously choreographed, costumed and directed, making the most of its striking setting in Hild Bede Chapel.

Opening with a well-designed physical routine to represent the storm-battered ship struggling against the elements, the play follows Prospero, the deposed Duchess of Milan, living on an island with her child Miranda, alongside servants Caliban and Ariel.

is outstanding as Prospero, projecting a grounded authority which fills the expansive space. She manages to be both powerful and dignified whether the focus of the scene or on its fringes, setting the tone for the whole piece. As her servant Ariel, is also a standout, with excellent movement and physicality, the energy of which does not drop throughout the performance.

Caliban is excellently portrayed by Lilly Kennedy, again maintaining a difficult but remarkable physical stature through the show. The use of jewels on the faces of both Kennedy and Wright was an excellent touch, adding to the fantastical dimension of the island.

is outstanding as Prospero, projecting a grounded authority which fills the expansive space

Prospero’s daughter Miranda becomes engaged to Ferdinand, son of Alonso and a survivor of the shipwreck. The pair are played by and to great effect; Farrell switches between tenderness and determination effortlessly through his scenes, while Steer brings an endearing wonder to her role. Between the two there was an enticing chemistry and several well-executed comedic moments.

Also among the shipwreck was Antonio, Prospero’s sister and Duchess of Milan, joined by King of Naples Alonso, his brother Sebastian and courtier Gonzalo. as Antonio was truly fantastic, her marvellous facial expressions combining with stunning movement and delivery to create some quality scenes. Similarly, as Alonso, as Sebastian and as Gonzalo were a great group, Malkin’s cartwheel rivalling even Wright’s. 

Another comedic highlight of the piece was the plotline of the threat against Prospero’s life, led by Trinculo and Stephano, servants of Alonso. and Hannah Lydon, who play the two respectively, were simply brilliant. Lydon in particular was a force to be reckoned with, mastering her lighter moments and pleasingly bringing the audience into her performance on numerous occasions. Nellist was equally brilliant as her companion, and the two bounced off each other well.

The creative team can be exceptionally proud of what they have put together

Finishing off the cast was Ella Maurici as Francisco and others, showing versatility in switching between roles.

The creative team can be exceptionally proud of what they have put together, overcoming a range of challenges to put on a special show. ’s direction, assisted by Lali Rhydderch, is wonderful, making use of the abnormal space within the chapel. ’s choreography, as alluded to on a number of occasions in this piece, is flawless, each character finding their identity in physicality.

Lola Stakenberg’s costume design is equally amazing, with a suggestion during the interval that every member of the cast was wearing at least one piece of Stakenberg’s own wardrobe. The effect is worth it; every single character is dressed with an attention to detail that is pleasing to see.

Taking care of tech were as production manager, as sound technician, as lighting designer and technician, and as lighting designer. The group do an excellent job, bringing an eerie island feel to the space.

Completing the team is as producer, who can be exceptionally proud of his efforts in running a smooth show from start to finish. A special mention also to Carrie Cheung’s incredible poster, which provides the image for this piece.

All in all, ‘The Tempest’ is a genuinely beautiful production in a space not often used by student theatre companies; certainly one to watch.

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