The Tempest

William Shakespeare
Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare's Globe

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Ciaran O'Brien as Caliban and Ferdy Roberts as Prospero Credit: Marc Brenner
Ralph Davis as Trinculo, George Fouracres as Stephano and Ciaran O'Brien as Caliban Credit: Marc Brenner
Joanne Howarth as Boatswain/Francisco Credit: Marc Brenner

There’s a bit of a beach party going on down at Prospero’s island. There’s a supersized dingy and beach balls to play with. Characters wear colourful clothes and Prospero sports nothing but yellow swimming shorts and a bright red sun tan.

This Prospero (Ferdy Roberts) is a genial host who even arranges the opening storm scene to be a moment of laughter at the comical expressions on the faces of a crowd partying in a huge glass container when they hear the ship has split.

Caliban, played by the white-skinned Ciarán O’Brien wearing white shorts and a coloured shirt bearing the identity badge of staff, is a humorous, disgruntled employee, happy to drink with the lads Stephano (George Fouracres) and Trinculo (Ralph Davis). When he isn't tidying up after the holidaymakers, he is more than ready to get the audience chanting football is coming home and other assorted crowd pleasers.

This is a smooth, confident production that has banished any connecting theme or serious engagement with the play's social ideas, which for some people will make the performance drag. Instead, the show is powered by distinctive characters and the comedic talents of its actors.

The grand host of this holiday camp is Prospero, who opens the second half with the words, “shall we get the party started.” His daughter Miranda (Nadi Kemp-Sayfi) is no sheltered soul. Confident and relaxed, she moves easily among the island visitors.

If the comic characters frolicking on the beach are the only purpose of the production, the comedy itself ranges wide with characters kicking a beach ball into the audience, Trinculo and Stephano dressing up in Harry Potter clothes and Caliban hiding under an inflatable lobster.

There is nothing serious to bother the mind. The troubling history of colonial atrocities has been chucked into the Thames. This is simply a comedy held together by a bunch of good actors and a series of disconnected jokes.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna