Review: THE TEMPEST Takes the Citadel By Storm

By: Apr. 27, 2019
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Review: THE TEMPEST Takes the Citadel By Storm

A raging wind gnashes its teeth, battering a desolate island and its steely surrounding seas. A cold moon crouches above a foreboding ship's mast, illuminating its herculean form and bathing two figures as they cross paths on the beach. So begins The Tempest, William Shakespeare's haunting tale of love and vengeance.

Prospero (Lorne Cardinal) is the deposed duke turned-sorcerer in the eye of the storm. He reigns over the elements like a mad conductor commanding notes from an orchestra, waiting furiously for his rival brother's ship to sink. However, his plan veers sharply off course when his brother Antonio (Derek Kwan) plots his own revenge and Prospero's daughter Miranda (Thurga Kanagasekarampillai) falls in love with a boyish castaway from Antonio's weathering ship.

Heading an impressive cast of both deaf and hearing actors is Cardinal, who is best known for playing Sergeant Davis Quinton on CTV's Corner Gas. The role of Prospero is the polar opposite of the kooky small-town cop, and Cardinal delivers an impressive performance as the former, showcasing versatility and an imposing stage presence as Prospero's rage manifests as the storm. As his daughter Miranda, Kanagasekarampillai is expressive and emotive as she signs her lines, conveying childlike affection for her stage father and shy infatuation with her enamoured suitor Ferdinand (Braydon Dowler-Coltman). Kanagasekarampillai and Dowler-Coltman share a palpable chemistry that sparkles during their characters' first meeting when Ferdinand learns to communicate with Miranda in sign language.

The rest of the cast is equally dynamic, their signed and spoken dialogue captivating to watch. Queen Alonsa (Nadien Chu) is heartbreaking as a mourning mother, Elizabeth Morris offers comic relief as jester Trincula, and Derek Kwan is ruthless as Prospero's nemesis Antonio. Prospero's slave Ariel is portrayed by eight different actors (Jarret Cody, Braydon Dowler-Coltman, Hayley Hudson, Sage Lovell, Barbara Poggemiller, Denise Read, Suchiththa Wickremesooriya, and Hodan Youssof), who are all eerie and mesmerizing as they flit among the shadowy margins of their master's malevolent plot.

To say The Tempest is atmospheric is an understatement. It teems with abyssal shadows and ice-cold starlight and bristles with lashing winds and rainfall as the actors stumble and wade through moonlit water, their rubber boots squeaking in the downpour. Although the dialogue is sometimes difficult to hear, the characters' vivid expressions often speak louder than their characters' laments and outbursts, throwing the audience lifelines as we brave the storm with them. The Tempest is a maelstrom of creativity and insight, concluding The Citadel's 2018-2019 season with a performance as innovative as it is memorable.

The Tempest runs at the Citadel Theatre until May 12.


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