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The Tempest
The Tempest

The Mitchell School of Drama is staging a version of The Tempest quite unlike any you will have seen before.

Appearing at the lemon Treet later this month, this production by Rhona Mitchell, sees Ashley Forbes overseeing an excellent live band, in a show that is full of surprises.

Shakespeare is there, certainly: well spoken and delivered with confidence and clarity.

But what sets this production apart is the spirit of youth and the overriding sense of fun that communicates from cast to audience.

Set in the 1940s and 50s, and beautifully costumed by Liz Cork, the text is interspersed with songs from the era. They are crooned by Jordan Abberley, ably and stylishly assisted by a trio of lovelies - the Desert Island Dolls.

Several songs are fully choreographed dance numbers and yet still reflect the essence of the text. The back story of the usurped Duke Prospero is a cleverly executed shadow puppet sequence.

A stilt-walking Ariel, twa Doric spikkin drunken servants, and a chorus of chickens all add to the fun.

The betrothal entertainment presented by Prospero becomes Sunday Night at the London Palladium complete with audience participation!

There are some first rate performances: the Prospero of Gwyllym Hunter has sufficient authority and gentleness to make a lasting impact, while Mary Williams‘s Miranda is a totally believable teenager, both sweet and moody. Craig Sandison’s Caliban is a grotesque figure crawling on all fours until the end when he stands to his full height, dominating the stage.

Rosalind Watt’s Ariel is outstanding - a fluid, magical presence with just a touch of vulnerability.

However, as with all M.S.D. productions the ensemble is what makes the greatest impact. As the noises of the isle they constantly create “solemn and strange music”.

They simply erupt on to the stage to create the opening storm sequence; then they waltz, tango and jive their way into a joyous finale.

This production can be seen again at The Lemon Tree Theatre as part of the Aberdeen International Youth Festival from July 25-27 - don’t miss it!