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'The Tempest' at Pleasance: If Shakespeare Had Access to Stage Technology

Wildcard Theatre is back with a new and unique version of Shakespeare’s very last play, The Tempest. This adaptation is electric and bold, with the words being as old as time and everything else joyfully modern.

After being banished to remote islands with magical books for twelve years, Prospero lingers with his daughter Miranda. Absorbed by his desire of vengeance since his brother Antonio usurped the title of Duc of Milan, Prospero plots and devises his revenge using the powers of the spirit Ariel and the slave Caliban. Using Ariel’s magical powers, he conjures a tempest to bring ashore his enemies. Confused and adrift, the passengers of the ship are at the mercy of Prospero’s maliciousness. Shakespeare delves once again into the questions of power and human condition.

Wildcard Theatre's production set in a cabaret-like theatre put up a visually dazzling and fascinating play. The set successfully toys with light and sound technology and the result is vibrant and colourful - blending in seamlessly with the costumes and make-up. The Tempest lives up to its first impressions; the comedians are impressive and versatile, as they gracefully recite Shakespeare's iambics pentameters, singing ballades and deliver monologues. Duo Trinculo (Gigi Zahir) and Stephano (Eleanor House) embody the perfect balance between the modern adaptation and the original text, as they skillfully break the fourth wall - adding playfulness to scenes. The Tempest is smartly thought, spirited and utterly magical.

Contemporary additions did not denature the initial play. The original soundtrack, the surprising mise-en-scène, and the use of sound effects undeniably push the audience out of its comfort zone. Whenever you think that the production went over the top and off the plot, read Shakespeare’s play and you’ll see that Wildcard Theatre has managed to keep its traditions, with the exception of surprising scenic choices that would only inspire Shakespeare.

Director James Meteyard adapted The Tempest beautifully, making Shakespeare more accessible and diverse for new audiences but also to anyone who is ready to go beyond the traditional codes of Shakespearian theatre. The modern twist to the 17th century text is perfect for engaging with a young audience or non-frequent theatregoers. Wildcard Theatre's The Tempest bridges different eras and the genres, transporting you to a timeless place.

I am highly recommending everyone to go run to the Pleasance Theatre to spend a moment with this witty cast and crew, sometime between the 16th, the 21st century and the future, and somewhere between London and the shores of Prospero’s Island.


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