Review Roundup: THE TEMPEST at Shakespeare's Globe
Prospero, Duke of Milan, usurped and exiled by his own brother, holds sway over an enchanted island. He is comforted by his daughter Miranda and served by his spirit Ariel and his deformed slave Caliban. When Prospero raises a storm to wreck this perfidious brother and his confederates on the island, his long contemplated revenge at last seems within reach.
Imbued with a spirit of magic and the supernatural, The Tempest is Shakespeare's late great masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment and it just opened at Shakespeare's Globe.
Let's see what the critics had to say...
Charles Spencer, Daily Telegraph: The opening storm sequence, in which a model boat is carried by actors through the audience in the yard, is somewhat underwhelming, more Captain Pugwash than a great cataclysm of nature. But this is a mere niggle about a production that memorably captures the humour, the enchantment and the tantalising sense of mystery of Shakespeare's last masterpiece.
Michael Billington, Guardian: In the end, however, the evening belongs to Allam, who exercises fingertip control over the audience and turns Prospero into a Verdi-like hero whose emotional dynamic derives entirely from overwhelming fatherly affection.
Quentin Letts, Daily Mail: Good touches include some skeletoned puppet guard-dogs, a shower of confetti from on high when the lovers splice, drifts of xylophone music and Mr Allam's verse speaking (or rather shouting, when the overhead helicopters were at their worse). But none of these was quite sufficient to create Shakespeare's rough magic.
Henry Hitchings, Evening Standard: What's missing from director Jeremy Herrin's interpretation is a sense of magic. Allam, for all his subtlety, doesn't come across as a sorcerer or a scholar. Although the blossoming relationship between Miranda and Ferdinand is attractively conveyed, the play's romance and dreamy eeriness aren't fully established. While there are some seductive episodes, other scenes are colourless. This is a skilfully acted account of The Tempest, but not a spellbindingly beautiful one.
Maxwell Cooter, Whatsonstage: Jeremy Herrin's production of The Tempest, The Globe's season opener, proposes Prospero as a man in thrall to his books - Roger Allam's mellifluous tones suggest a man wholly in love with learning; there's a delicacy in his scenes with Colin Morgan's fleet-of-foot Ariel, a touch of tenderness. What's missing is the roughness: how did such a bookish man enslave Caliban and keep his Ariel in thrall?