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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

REVIEW: The Tempest at Newcastle People’s Theatre


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 “As you from crimes would pardoned be,
Let your indulgence set me free.”

The Tempest
by William Shakespeare
Newcastle People’s Theatre
Until Saturday 11th March 2017

Director: Anna Dobson
Set & Lighting Design: Tim Swinton
Music: David & Shona Newey

After the success of last year’s Richard III (NETG Review LINK) we’d been looking forward to this year’s performance from Newcastle’s People’s Theatre and we were not disappointed.

The tale involves an overthrown Duke called Prospero (Tony Childs) who plans to use his magical powers to restore his daughter to her rightful position. He is based on a remote island and he is able to create a storm to lure his usurping brother Antonio (Jim Simpson) and the complicit King Alonso (Kevin Gibson) to the island.

Photo: Paula Smart
The Tempest is a popular Shakespearean play and it considered to one of his more ‘musical’ scripts. It is therefore fitting that a pair of musicians were performing live as the audience took their seats. Indeed there were a number of singing performances throughout the play. Under Anna Dobson’s direction there were also a number of funny parts. Not just ‘only funny if you happen to be a Shakespeare scholar’ either. The four spirits, performed by Daniel Magee, Millie Hackett, Anna Chidlow and Abigail Heaps plus the comic sprite Ariel (Mark Burden) generated a number of laughs along the way.

Photo: Paula Smart
Central to the success of any performance of Shakespeare is the strength of the casting of those central characters. How comfortable are they at delivering the often dialogue heavy tales? Will the audience engage and care for the characters? Just like Richard III the casting has produced a great ensemble. Tony Childs as Prospero is statesman like in his delivery. Emma Jane Richards is charming, and gets a few laughs herself, as his daughter Miranda. Pete McAndrew’s Caliban has the right mix of subservient slave and scheming orchestrator of trouble.   I could go on. Needless to see the show relies on a strong ensemble and this show indeed enjoys such a cast.

Photo: Paula Smart
The production felt modern, helped by both the set and lighting design. There is no messy conceptualising of the material, it is allowed to be enjoyed as it was intended.

The Tempest is a canny show that just shows that you don’t need to break the bank in order to see a good delivery of the Bard’s work.

Review by Stephen Oliver


Tickets:

The Tempest comes to The People’s Theatre, Stephenson Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 5QF on Tuesday 7th to Saturday 11th March 2017 at 7:30pm
Tickets cost: £13.50 (Concessions £11) and can be obtained from the box office on 0191 265 5020 or from the website:  www.peoplestheatre.co.uk







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