The Shoreline production of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ opened on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th March in Swansea’s Dylan Thomas Theatre. Guest reviewer Tarnia Russell went to check it out.

By Tarnia Russell

I attended the Thursday showing of The Tempest, hoping that any initial teething problems would be resolved for their second and final night. Despite a few prop failings and issues regarding the levels  of diction from a few of the cast, I left the theatre feeling well entertained by a strong and successful performance of one of Shakespeare’s less enjoyable plays.

Huw Richards’ Prospero maintained a brilliant level of both maniacal manipulation and fatherly love for his daughter Miranda (Ellie Dimond), but often I found him to be two or three decibels louder than the rest of the cast. This is more of a criticism for the rest of the cast, as I often had to strain my ears to hear many of the cast members. Dimond’s Miranda was too softly spoken and despite her believable performance of a love-struck fool, I would have appreciated being able to hear her properly.

Michael Johnson and Harry Thurston who played the often-mocking and comical pair Antonio and Sebastian gave a well delivered and amusing performance, often gaining laughs from the audience as they sparred and parried their witticisms on stage. Many were impressed by Johnson’s spinning swordplay, albeit seemingly unscripted and impulsive.

The most notable performance was that of Hannah Lee-Docherty’s Ariel, her performance of the fiery yet enslaved spirit was professional and without critique. She had a graceful sense of timing in the scenes with Mo Comfort (Trincolo) and Ariel’s devotion to her Master, yet her simultaneous hatred of him was a haunting performance.

The props were often an issue, throughout the play pieces would fall off costumes and the ‘dinner’ scene was quite incomprehensible as the table top was badly constructed, leaving me unsure what I was actually looking at. But the set itself was brilliantly designed; the green bushes and ivy resembled the paradisiacal island beautifully. Unlike Shoreline’s production of The History Boys two weeks before; the set changes were amusingly changed by using the fairies of the island to giggle in the dark and mischievously move pieces back and forth. This I thought was an excellent touch.

Though one scene that should have been immediately revised was that of the ‘ballet dancers’. Having so many dancers on one small stage appeared clumsy and as they were out of sync with one another, it looked unprofessional. The dancers were unnecessary to the plot, so I would have removed them entirely, or if they must be kept, scaled them down.

Overall it was a fantastic performance from the cast. The set and the staging was limited but well designed and I think Shoreline Productions should be extremely proud of their efforts. I would happily bring friends and family to watch this production all over again.

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