REVIEW: The Tempest, Northern Stage, Until October 10

Jade Ogugua as Miranda and Tyrone Huggins as Prospero in The Tempest.

Jade Ogugua as Miranda and Tyrone Huggins as Prospero in The Tempest.

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The Tempest is a passionate tale of love and revenge, but this production wasn’t as magical as I’d hoped.

The co-production from Northern Stage, Oxford Playhouse and Improbable fell a little flat for me.

Pete Peverley as Calivan in The Tempest.

Pete Peverley as Calivan in The Tempest.

William Shakespeare’s tale sees Prospero (Tyrone Huggins) robbed of his dukedom by his own brother Antonio (Gary Kitching) and banished to an enchanted island with his daughter Miranda (Jade Ogugua).

In a plot to take his revenge, Prospero conjures up a storm that shipwrecks Antonio and his crew on the island.

The show has a lot going on but the actors didn’t really keep my attention.

The music, however, was very interesting. Composer and performer Brendan Murphy was positioned at the side of the stage playing the likes of water glasses and drums to accompany the action.

It’s a great feeling to come out of the theatre desperate to go straight back and see the show again, but sadly, I didn’t have that last night.

His performances were extremely inventive and quite captivating, but that had its downside as well.

There were times that I was so intrigued by what he was doing that I’d suddenly realise I hadn’t been watching the actors for a while, and him getting a much bigger cheer than the cast as they bowed spoke volumes – maybe I wasn’t the only one who was more interested in what he was doing.

The staging also had its pros and cons.

At the beginning, the cast gathered around a washing machine while Ariel (Eileen Walsh) filled it with clothes and poured Ariel washing powder in, pointing at the box and making a joke about it being her namesake.

John Paul Connolly as Alonso in The Tempest.

John Paul Connolly as Alonso in The Tempest.

The set then seemed to completely rely on the whole Ariel thing, with three huge piles of clothes on the stage and row-upon-row of shirts and jumpers hanging above the actors’ heads.

It looked really good but restricted the movement of the actors quite a bit.

It’s a great feeling to come out of the theatre desperate to go straight back and see the show again, but sadly, I didn’t have that last night.

The Tempest runs at Northern Stage until Saturday, October 10. Click here to book tickets.

Hannah McPake as Trinculo and Tony Bell as Stephano in The Tempest.

Hannah McPake as Trinculo and Tony Bell as Stephano in The Tempest.

Twitter: @vickinewmanjp

Chris Price as Ferdinand and Jade Ogugua as Miranda in The Tempest.

Chris Price as Ferdinand and Jade Ogugua as Miranda in The Tempest.