BWW Reviews: A Magical TEMPEST Is A Most Welcome Addition To Las Vegas
Teller first became known for magic, working with Penn (Jillette) in the act they formed in 1981. Today, following worldwide success, the duo is in residence at the Rio in Las Vegas. In between shows, Teller found time to direct (and co-produce with Penn) the 2013 documentary Tim's Vermeer. Now, he and co-director Aaron Posner have staged Shakespeare's play The Tempest and it is running at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts through April 27.
Teller is particularly well-suited to the task as the central character, Prospero, is a magician. He has crafted an excellent production, true to Shakespeare and, also, to himself as a magician. It is a light-as-air production with magic and very magical characters.
Music in the production is by Tom Waits and his wife/collaborator Kathleen Brennan. The choreography is by Matt Kent, associate artistic director of the famed Pilobolus Dance Company whose impact is felt throughout, probably most notable in the constantly moving, two-headed, two-bodied Caliban.
This version of what is believed to be the last play Shakespeare ever wrote, uses magic as an integral part of the events onstage, rather than as a less central part of events.
This new co-production of the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and the Smith Center for the Performing Arts showcases an outstanding cast including Tom Nelis as Prospero, Charlotte Graham as Miranda, Joby Easle as Prospero, Pilobolus' Zachary Eisenstat and Manelich Minniefee as Caliban. The live band - Zachary Eisenstat and Manelich Minniefee - just adds to the magic.
We in Las Vegas are so lucky to have this production's world premiere - it's off to Cambridge in May - and we can only hope for more with this kind of magic, intrigue and wonderful theatricality.
If he were here now, I'd give Teller the standing ovation his play gets after each performance. It is a wonder most welcome.
The Tempest is in a tiered 500-seat, climate-controlled TENT in Donald W. Reynolds Symphony Park. It is climate controlled but in the 90 degree heat of a Las Vegas afternoon it took awhile to cool off. But, it was wonderful. Hurry before it closes. tickets range from $20 to $75. Get them at www.thesmithcenter.c