The latest offering from Nottingham New Theatre is a thrilling evening of Shakespearean humour and magic. Director Chris Trueman’s rendition of the Shakespeare classic is fresh and very entertaining.
The show starts with the cast emulating a rocking boat perfectly by swinging side to side, using the available resources effectively to create a scene traditionally littered with many props. The cast then goes on to deliver a collectively powerful performance simultaneously sombre and humorous. The lead role of Prospero is in this case female and is played by Maddy Strauss, whose performance is undoubtedly more nuanced than a typical male casting. The combination of the delightful performance of Miranda (played by Felicity Chilver) with this choice of a female Prospero, results in the relationship being portrayed as far more emotive due to the maternal bond that the two display. It’s not hard at all to understand Prospero’s need to protect her child from all harm.
“The dance sequences seem like they have come out of a Grimes music video”
The pièce de résistance is the remarkable performance of Malcolm Jeunet’s performance as Caliban, which provides the first smidge of humour in the otherwise serious play. Along with the performances of Josh Mallalieu and Laurence Cuthbert as Stephano and Trinculo respectively, the trio provide the most entertaining performance of the evening. The inclusion of the dance numbers at times make the play look more like a musical, but they are a welcome innovation to the usually dry Shakespeare adaptation. The dance sequences seem to have come out of a Grimes music video, perhaps intended to make the play appealing to a younger and more curious audience.
“All in all, the cast gives a great performance collectively and makes the evening a great success”
Set design is exquisite with an all-white set creating a dynamic space to recreate the immensity of the Tempest universe. This colouring not only gives a subdued background to make the actors’ performances pop, they also make the play seem very organic. All in all, the cast gives a great performance collectively and makes the evening a great success. A big congratulation to Chris Trueman and producer Emma Kendall for organizing and creating such an avant-garde interpretation of such a classic.
‘The Tempest’ is running at the Nottingham New Theatre until Saturday 23rd April. For more information see here.