Home » Reviews » The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Globe

The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Globe

William Shakespeare
Directed by Jeremy Herrin

★★★★

Pros: An event at the Globe is not just a performance – it is an experience! This is a wonderful story, with magic (and Merlin!) lots of action and humour performed by a fantastic cast.

Cons: What’s not to like? Not the most comfortable three hours of theatre thanks to the wooden bench seats and legroom designed when people were a foot shorter, but do not let that put you off, its’ all part of a fantastic experience!

Our Verdict: Everyone should see Shakespeare at the Globe at least once. Even if Shakespeare is not your thing, both the building and the experience are just wonderful. And for just £5 you can stand in the yard and if you’re lucky, be part of the action – best non-seats in the house!

Courtesy of The Globe

Oh, I do love Shakespeare and thanks to a brilliant English teacher, I always have done. You cannot beat it for a thoroughly twisty plot and proper drama, splattered with ghosts and faeries, and buckets of bawdy humour! I have been privileged to see some great performances of the bard’s work over the years, but there is something really special about the Globe and the entire experience from start to finish. I think the theatre in this instance overshadows the playwright as the real star of the show! From the moment you are greeted by the super friendly staff, grab a beer and a BBQ burger in the courtyard, then take your bench seat, the surroundings of this reconstruction of the original theatre built in 1599 take you to a unique and special experience you just can’t get anywhere else. Every detail from the props and costumes to the instruments and entrances are designed to make an event at the Globe as close to the original performances as modern theatre etiquette will allow. It’s a wonderful place to be!

I’d not seen or read The Tempest before, so I had little knowledge of the story, but that was of no consequence thanks to the wonderful production. It begins with a storm and a shipwreck, so brilliantly presented with music, props and fantastic stage direction. We then meet Prospero, outcast from his native Milan, who inhabits a magical island with his daughter Miranda, his Faery Ariel and his slave Caliban. His brother exiled him years before to take his Dukedom, and that same brother is on the wrecked ship. We learn that Prospero evoked the storm to enable him to wreak revenge on his brother. What transpires is a tale of the darkness of human nature, love, loyalty, truth and forgiveness. But it is not all serious, intense drama –there is such a lot of humour from sarcasm to drunken bawdiness and the best thing about it is that the performance ebbs and flows through the audience. Faeries and musicians move throughout the balconies, whispering and playing amongst the watchers. And if you are brave enough to stand in the yard (for a ticket price of £5 there is no better place to be!) the action will unfold around you, in fact, you may even be a part of it as the actors move amongst the audience and ‘use’ them for often comic effect.

This is particularly interesting as the cast is rather special. Who would not want to be up close to Colin Morgan (Merlin in the BBC TV series) who plays Ariel with a grace and athleticism? Morgan moves about the theatre with an ethereal quality and is beautiful to watch as he swings, almost flies about the stage. Roger Allam is perfect as Prospero – he brings a wonderful humorous, personable quality to what could be a gruff and dusty character. Another stand out performance for me was Trevor Fox as Trinculo whose slapstick skills and situational comic timing really bring an incredible enjoyment to the performance. Together with a brilliant drunken performance by Sam Cox as Stephano, and James Garnon as the‘monster’ Caliban, these three had everyone laughing with gusto throughout the performance. The whole cast is fantastic and given that they have to compete with the sounds of modern London outside the theatre, they ensure that the audience experience a unique and special theatre event, at a wonderful, iconic theatre.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!

The Tempest runs at the Globe until 18th August 2013 
Box Office: 0207 401 9919 https://tickets.shakespearesglobe.com/eventlist.asp?shoid=503

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Everything Theatre
Founded in 2011, Everything Theatre started life as a pokey blog run by two theatre enthusiasts and – thanks to the Entry Pass Scheme for 16-25 year olds – regular National Theatre goers. Today, we are run by part-time volunteers from a wide array of backgrounds. Among our various contributors are people who work in theatre, but also people who work in law, medicine, events, marketing and even psychiatry! We are all united by our love for the London theatre scene.
  • Anonymous

    Colin Morgan is an amazing actor. I saw him as Merlin, and also in “Parked” and in “Island”: He is such an artist! He convey all the emotions so expressively and beautifully! I can’t wait to see him in “The Tempest”.