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Old Vic Theatre: Previewed 16 Jan, Opened 21 Jan 2003, Closed 15 March 2003
Play by Shakespeare. Directed by Michael Grandage.
Prospero, Duke of Milan, his dukedom usurped by his brother Antonio, is put to sea with his little daughter Miranda and some magical books smuggled in by his loyal councillor Gonzalo. The sea casts them up on an island where Prospero, exercising his magical powers, makes a home for himself and Miranda. One day, a great storm. which Prospero has conjured, breaks up a passing ship and delivers to him the members of his usurping court. Treacherous brother, fellow conspirators and old friend alike come under Prospero's spell.
Derek Jacobi plays 'Prospero' and Daniel Evans plays 'Ariel' in this major revival which comes into London's West End following a successful season at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre earlier this year.
The cast also includes: Stuart Burt, Peter Bygott, Sam Callis, Robert East, Sophie Franklin, Colin Haigh, Louise Hilyer, Michael Jenn, Nigel Lindsay, David Mara, Christian Mortimer, John Nettleton, Claire Price, Iain Robertson.
News about the show
Extracts from the reviews:
"Sir Derek Jacobi is back at the Old Vic in Shakespeare, whom he honours as of right by being the best verse speaker in the land. Although I loved this production last autumn at the exciting Sheffield Crucible, there is something especially moving about seeing Sir Derek again at the Vic... The richhess of Sir Derek's performance lies in his loneliness. He loses his daughter to a prince, and he realises that Ariel, whom he can never truly command, has human feelings after all. This subtle interplay between Jacobi and Daniel Evans's beautifully poised and superbly sung Ariel is pure magic... Jacobi slips unerringly into gear, pitching his great speeches into sharp dramatic context and reminding us at every phrase how lucky we are to have actors like him and a theatre poet like the Bard of Avon." The Daily Mail
"BANG! Michael Grandage's production of The Tempest begins with its coup de theatre - thunder and lightning crash, dark clouds billow as the storm rages about the imperilled ship, and then, at Prospero's commands, is sucked into his magic book. Thereafter, all is light, both in the brightly illuminated stage and the clarity of the direction. The verse speaking is crisp, and the play is full of the sense of wonder at magic performed in the open day... Though the overall impression is a favourable one there is much about this The Tempest that doesn't really work. There's nothing other-worldly, for instance about Claire Price's Miranda... Louis Hilyer's Caliban, howling and sulking, never moves us to pity... If life is a long rehearsal for a performance that never happens, this Tempest looks like a good dress rehearsal for the one we have in our heads." The Independent
"...With Jacobi you can hear every word, every nuance of meaning in his extraordinary voice. It is like being driven through the play in a Rolls-Royce. He is supported by a superb Ariel - his helping spirit - played by the brilliant Daniel Evans, and Claire Price is memorable as his daughter, Miranda. However, director Michael Grandage's production is not perfect: the comedy bits don't work, the monster Caliban is not nasty enough and the stage design struck me as old-hat..." The Express
"How good it is to find Shakespeare back at the Old Vic, and what a superb production this is of Shakespeare's last masterpiece. Michael Grandage's staging, starring Derek Jacobi, first opened at the Sheffield Crucible last September, and seems even better on second viewing. Like all Grandage's finest work, there is a lucidity and lack of fuss about this Tempest, a determination to serve the text rather than indulge in flashy displays of directorial virtuosity. But such tact and self-restraint don't mean blandness. The opening storm is thrillingly conjured, while Christopher Oram's design fascinatingly sets the action in a theatre within a theatre... The great glory of this production is Derek Jacobi's spellbinding performance as Prospero..." The Daily Telegraph