Pants on Fire, Tossed!

Review in Issue 17-3 | Autumn 2005

Two unforgettable strengths of this version of The Tempest: first the soundscape composed by Lucy Egger – self-effacing, beguiling, live – and next the staging. With the poorest of means, the director Peter Bramley dreamed up a setting of power and invention to underpin the marvellous text: walls of slashed black cloth enclosing the action, an intricate choreography of black and white screens hiding and revealing a dream of six almost identical Ariels, eerily costumed (by Tracey Cliffe) in matching black and white. The action swept buoyantly along, without an interval. The initial storm was played in miniature, the ship represented first by a tilting, swaying platform for the deck, then by the model of a whole galleon, from which cut-out effigies of the passengers fell gracefully into the deep. Clever and effective, if shoestring simple. Some of the acting was strong, some poor, some uncontrolled, out of sync with the style. Most of the players played several roles: the small spaces backstage must have been frantic. Prospero (Jonathan Tanner) was casual, almost laid-back, but obviously super-intelligent. At the end, when he appeared in a ridiculous wig, he managed to convey self-deprecation as well as dignity, Miranda's physicality was like that of an untamed colt, charming but in need of restraint (Dawn Fleming). The six Ariels stole the show – through them shone the director's talent. They echoed and melted into each other, their movements disciplined to the same extent as many of the other performances were not. I'd say Peter Bramley was a director to watch.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-3
p. 30