This script can almost be viewed as early science fiction, set on an imaginary island with the leading character using magic to restore order. Director Bronwyn Palmer has brought the setting up to date making the island one of the floating rubbish heaps that mar the Pacific Ocean. Although most of the text has stayed the same some of the characters have been given a modern edge.
Prospero, played by Jack Robins is in forced isolation having had his kingdom usurped and lives with his daughter, Miranda, with very little company and no worldly influences. His only subjects are the son of the being who previously ruled the island, an ugly deformed character, and Ariel, a spirit who is bound to Prospero’s magic after he rescued her. The plot revolves around revenge that Prospero seeks on those who betrayed him but leads to so much more.
The set is basic but moves well for scene changes and doesn’t intrude on the action, Robins is well cast as Prospero and is convincing in his control of the magic. John Charles does a fine job as Caliban, not an easy part, and Finty McBain is just right as Ariel singing to enchant. The Lovers, Miranda (Elle Schaefer) and Ferdinand (Theodoros Papazis) make a sweet couple, falling in love spontaneously people who are the target for Prospero’s machinations, the king and his court do a good job whilst also playing sprites.
Bronwyn Ruciak as Alonso, Ferdinand’s father, Ann Portus as Gonzalo, the elder statesman, both have the necessary gravitas. While Susan Cilento and Harry Ollerenshaw as Antonio and Sebastian demonstrate the ambition and viciousness that lead to the coup.
As always Shakespeare’s clowns garner the most attention. Trinculo (Annie Malsouliadis) and Stephano (Emily Dalziel) are updated larrakins with updated props and very funny. The Ensemble supported well with pleasant singing and movement. The costumes were a bit of a mixed bag but in most cases suited the character and how ‘updated’ they were.
I enjoyed the production and am pleased to see the Guild still giving us the occasional Shakespeare.