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Theatre Review Stupendous proposition

Ibiza or not the island in the sun of Prospero’s exile is an entertainingly lively backdrop for this witty and inventive production of Shakespeare classic, writes PETER MASON

The Tempest
The Globe, London

COULD the deserted Mediterranean island of Prospero’s exile have been Ibiza?
Director Sean Holmes seems to imagine that possibility, painting the magical mystery of Shakespeare’s comedy onto a hedonistic canvas strewn about with brightly coloured props — rubber ducks, lilos, paper cups and cooler boxes — that suggest a future for the place as a pleasure-seeking holiday destination.
As Prospero lounges in bright yellow budgie-smuggler trunks, taking every opportunity to lap up the sun, daughter Miranda, in a skimpy red rave outfit, looks as if she’s waiting for the party to start while the blissed-out spirit Ariel floats around with a smiley face, and even Caliban, decked out in casual shorts and Hawaiian shirt, projects an unusually relaxed air.
Ibiza or not, Holmes’s island in the sun is an entertainingly lively backdrop for this witty and inventive production, built around the commanding presence of Ferdy Roberts as Prospero and upholstered by a host of strong performances, including from Rachel Hannah Clarke as a cute, mischievous Ariel and Ralph Davis as an off-the-wall, ad-libbing Trinculo.
Eccentric props and whimsical moments go hand in hand, so that when Antonio and Sebastian decide to do away with Alonso, they arm themselves with a set of golf clubs that have survived the shipwreck, and as Caliban, Stefano and Trinculo get ready to ambush Prospero, they disguise themselves in Harry Potter gear they have come across in a dressing-up box.  
The music, too, takes in some amusingly oddball modern references, and at the conclusion, as Prospero walks off into the distance having set everyone free, it’s almost as if he’s disappeared in search of a new, brighter future for his island, one that includes the kind of fun-loving aspects that have been laid all around the stage.
Runs until October 22 2022:


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