Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Tempest Review

The Tempest
Old Vic, SE1

Virtual Storm

Yes, we're back, as Arnie might have said if he were Trafficlighttheatregoer or a super souped-up scarlet supermini ... On a sultry summer evening TLT and her trusty jalopy made their way once more to the Old Vic to watch the transatlantic Bridge version of The Tempest. And a production at one remove it turned out to be. The raison d'etre fell into place when one character emphasised the name of a virtual reality world which really does crop up in one of the final speeches. Of course Shakespeare was writing blank verse rather than internet product placement but if you want to google Act V, Scene I, TLT will give you a clue - it ain't Facebook. TLT just wishes director Sam Mendes and actor Stephen Dillane had gone the whole hog with Prospero and given him a laptop rather than a book of spells tallying with a characterisation reminding TLT of a worn out chief executive failing to live up to business page hype. And also made it all much pacier. It felt as if the ebb and flow of a magical play had been substituted by a self-conscious imitation lacking the lustre of the original and therefore it's an amber light.

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