Michael Boyd directs a production that is not only spectacular,
but also thoughtful and imaginative. In
the arena-like Roundhouse, the action takes place on ledges all
around and in the aisles, bringing the actors to the audience.
The action moves swiftly from the opening scene of the raging
tempest, with the King of Napes suspended from on high as the
mariners climb and descend the rigging, to the quiet ending as
Prospero and Caliban silently confront each other. Within the
course of a day, evildoers who had wronged Prospero are punished
and then forgiven, true love surmounts obstacles, a murder plot
is thwarted, the sprite Ariel achieves freedom, and the island
is left to native Caliban.
Malcolm Storry is outstanding as Prospero, exploring many facets
of this complex character, who guides the events more easily
than he can control his own passions, and who must, with difficulty,
forgive those whom he thirsts to punish in revenge for his banishment.
Brian Protheroe and Tom Beard are studies in evil as the brothers
of Prospero and the King, while on the comic level, serving-men
Trinculo (Simon Gregor) and the drunken Stephano (Roger Frost),
instigated by Caliban, attempt to overthrow Prospero and seize
Among the many inventive interpretations of familiar scenes is the
Harpy’s banquet, which turns into a chilling, bloody orgy; the acrobats
on ropes miming an erotic encounter in the wedding masque, and at
the end, Miranda’s wonder at the “brave new world” and its “goodly
people,” while Prospero dryly comments of these thieves and usurpers,
“’tis new to thee.” And the interpretations of Ariel and Caliban
are equally imaginative. Kananu Kirimi is a diminutive, dancing,
androgynous sprite, while Geff Francis brings dignity and poetry
to his rebellious Afro-Caribbean Caliban. As the old Gonzalo
who saved Prospero and his magic books, Jerome Willis effectively
depicts optimistic goodness surrounded by cynical evildoers.