we know that you need to know that we, as responsible reviewers, have some quantifiable
categories to rate productions, and are not just relying on some undefinable
instinct or gut feeling. So to put your mind at ease, we will give you a logical
rating system based on the practitioner's vision / and the reviewer's response
of a particular production. Here it is then: ***** : Transcendent / Rapturous.
****: Crystal / Appreciative. ***: Transmitted / Thoughtful. **:Vague / Unsatisfied.
* : Uncommunicated / Mystified. Yet in the end, you will feel that this
is (1) a cheap attempt to justify the subjective arbitrariness of our rating
system (2) buttressed by an interest in the logical (and inevitable) categorisation
of such productions, which is (3) undermined by the cheapness of the attempt,
and (4) confused by the creeping feeling you are getting that we are dead serious
in our feeling that this rating system is an accurate description of the content,
intent and quality of the production. Oh please -- does it even matter now?
Look, at least we tried.
>>>>>TAKING THE WORLD BY STORM
THE TEMPEST is a difficult work to stage - it consists,
for the most part, of various groups of people wandering about an enchanted
island, all under the control of magician/ruler Prospero. The various
strands of the story can seem fragmentary and unrelated, so it is to the
credit of this production that it makes this play feel like a satisfying
play all the characters, in part contributing to the sense of unity that
pervades this production. It also helps that Austrian director Martina
Winkel's set design evokes an island without being too specific,
with bowls of water and heaps of sand dotted across the space, so that
we move fluently from one location to another without the disruption of
production's great strength is in the sheer sense of magic that
pervades every moment.'
This production's great strength is in the sheer sense of magic
that pervades every moment. From the faint but constant soundscape by
Helge Hinteregger to the shadow pictures that flit across the back wall,
the theatre fairly tingles with an electric sense of possibility. Rather
than watching the characters stumble their way through various bits of
sorcery as is usually the case, we share the same magical space that they
is a majectic Prospero, and displays fine comic timing as Stephano. Jonathan
Lim turns in a suitably grotesque performance as Caliban, although his
triumph is his Ferdinand, in which he captures the bashfulness and rather
grubby sensuality that pervades adolescent courtship. Yeo Yann Yann is
a revelation - her Miranda is utterly compelling, growing imperceptibly
from awkward girl to confident young woman. She has a little trouble speaking
the Shakespearean verse, but her presence is undeniably watchable.
The play loses its way a little towards the end. The massive reunion scene
that usually ties up all the loose ends becomes messy and confusing as
the three actors dash about playing all fifteen or so characters who should
be on stage (some end up, confusingly, being played by puppets). Still,
this does not dispel the enchantment created in the rest of the show.
plays that engage your brain and plays that engage your heart. I always
thought of THE TEMPEST as being in the former category, but The Theatre
Practice has shown that this play has a great big heart beating beneath
its intellectual surface.