Theatre Review: The Tempest at The Rose

Valentino Vecchietti is beguiled by the magic of all-female Shakespeare.


Published:

(Left to right) Lakshmi Khabrani as Miranda and Kimberly Jarvis as Ferdinand

Ray Malone

 

From the magical setting of the Rose Theatre, Sea Change Theatre presents an all-female cast production of Shakespeare’s Tempest. Director Ray Malone, and writer Sue Frumin do an excellent job of bringing this classic play to life.  As does designer Lu Firth’s wonderful costumes.  

 

Sue Frumin’s adaptation of The Tempest is a tale of romance, deception, torment and revenge.  Prospero (Marianne Hyatt), the rightful Duke of Milan, is betrayed by her family and set adrift to die at sea with her daughter, Miranda (Lakshmi Khabrani), but instead they survive. 

 

We find Prosoero with her lilting Texan accent, and her hair pulled high upon her head.  Her corseted dress, once regal with Dukedom, now stitched and patched. Her daughter by her side still garbed in the remnants of the life jacket that saw them washed upon the shores of the island years before.

 

Stranded with nothing but her books and knowledge, Prospero discovers how to wield powerful magic and take control of the island and it’s magical beings.  With the Sprite Ariel at her command, Prospero lures those who betrayed her to shipwreck themselves upon the shores of the island, so that she can reek her longed for revenge.

 

Whether or not you’ve seen Shakespeare’s Tempest before, there is something utterly brilliant about hearing the Bard’s words spoken by women’s voices.  Over half the cast are lesbian or bi identified, and it is wonderfully empowering to see.  

 

With playful, physical, comedy from Trinculo (Gerry Bell) and Stefano (Vix Dillon), and a surprisingly fetishistic element to Caliban’s performance, played by Rosie Jones, as she licks the leather boots of Stefano whilst begging her to be her master - the play sweeps us up in its ethereal journey.    

 

Rosie Jones as Claiban, Vix Dillon as Stephano, and Gerry Bell as Trinculo

 

Stand-out atmospheric moments include a magical soundscape which depicts the inner frustrations and torments of the enchanted Ariel (Lucianne Regan) whilst she remembers the monthly ritual visits of the Witch Sycorax.  

 

The romance between Miranda (Lakshmi Khabrani) and Ferdinand (Kimberly Jarvis) is both innocent and flirtatious, with enticing moments of intimacy.  

 

This 90 minute adaptation packs a lot in: with tension, betrayal, delightful comedic moments, romance, and interjections of song.  Highly recommend. 

 

You can see The Tempest at the Rose Theatre until 2 July.

And then at L Fest weekend, 22/23 July.

You can find Sea-Change Theatre on Facebook.

 

 

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