[2015.09.29] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.
Improbable set the tone for their adaptation of The Tempest perfectly with their opening scene. In front of a curtain of tied-together clothing, the main cast stood by a washing machine, to which some Arial powder (wink, wink) was added, and the machine ‘turned on.’ The curtain then lifted as if we were all being spun by the barrel, and the storm, onto the shore alongside the action.
Dunes of shirts and trousers provided hillsides for characters to emerge from and escape around. Dressed in coherent apparel, the island residents blended in with the background as they made covert approaches, and eaves dropped on the washed-ashore. Throughout, the father-daughter chemistry between Tyrone Huggins as Prospero and Jade Ogugua was perfect and adoringly recognisable, whilst Eileen Walsh’s Ariel kept up a boundless energy as she tormented the selfish and vein lost souls. As Miranda and Ferdinand finally got Prospero’s blessing, the stage was filled wall-to-wall with colour.
Providing delicate and mysterious music to the show was Brendan Murphy, who danced with wine-glass harmonics and glass tubular bells from his stage-right pit of tricks.
This adaptation took the brighter aspects of the text and ran with them. This packed main room at Northern Stage was left with an audience clapping heartily for another storm soon.