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The Tempest

Published 25 February 2016

What’s it all about?

It’s about the Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole saying goodbye to the venue he’s run for the last decade in the most fitting way possible, with Shakespeare’s goodbye to playwriting.

More practically, it’s about a banished Duke seeking revenge, setting right old wrongs and creating a future for his teenaged daughter.

Who’s in it?

The gloriously lion-voiced Tim McMullan plays a wonderfully human Prospero, more often fatherly and considered than ranting and raving. You get the feeling he’s used his 12 years stranded on an island to come to terms with life, not let his pains fester.

A glittering Pippa Nixon brings out the sadness in spirit helper Ariel, adding a touch of Dobby the house elf into the mix.

As Stephano and Trinculo, Trevor Fox and Dominic Rowan are hilarious, seemingly inspired by comedians from Tommy Cooper to Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer to create a stupendously silly double act.

What should I look out for?

As ever in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, there are little flourishes that light up the stage, from the simple depiction of the show-starting shipwreck to Ariel’s transformation into a bat-like spirit of terror.

In a nutshell?

Dominic Dromgoole waves goodbye to the Globe with a production fittingly full of fun, wit, and invention, tinged with just a little sadness.

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Will I like it?

For a story including a shipwreck, love, attempted murder and magic, not a lot actually happens in The Tempest. But the way it doesn’t happen, certainly at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, is a joy.

Go for McMullan’s paternal ache as a father struggling to release all he loves.

Go for Fox and Rowan’s drunk banter, though I’m sure Shakespeare didn’t write “I’m Batman”.

Go for the flourishes magnified by the candlelit simplicity of the Wanamaker Playhouse.

Just go; it’s a storming production.

The Tempest runs at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse until 22 April. You can book tickets through the theatre’s website.


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