Sunday, 29 June 2008

Tempest at The Oval

On Friday night a gang of us went over to The Oval House to see their Youth Theatre's production of The Tempest. Jenny, Mitch, Kieran and Stef, four of our graduate students were involved and several more of this flourishing company are going to join us in the Autumn. It's Stef mostly, I think, who's been the driving force in creating links between young actors.

I'd seen the company's brilliant Bald Soprano earlier in the year and really enjoyed the fearlessness and ambition of the production. The Tempest, if I'm honest, didn't quite match up, but this was mainly a problem of direction, some odd casting and a frenetic pace that didn't allow any sense of the shape or the music of the play to emerge. It was a neat touch to have Sycorax feeding Caliban his lines and Prospero's final speech was cut, to allow a final image of Caliban reclaiming his Island - but these moments seemed isolated and out of sync with the speed run nature of the production.

Still the company has a good feel and camaraderie and if it can find the right direction for the actors then they are capable of radical and exciting work.

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