Arts Review: The Tempest

Dir. Andy Arnold, Tron, 7th- 16th May

In the final sprint for the Commonwealth Games, The Tron surpass expectations with a spectacular, thought-provoking performance of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. As part of the Mayfesto festival that runs from May 6th until the 31st, the set of debates, plays and performances promise “power, poetry and defiance”: that is mightily apparent.

The Tempest raises subtle questions about the power of colonisation and the psyche of those involved as deformed servant to the exiled Duke of Milan, Caliban, boldly serves the intruders of his own island. Caliban (Renee Williams) may be enslaved, but his voice in the play is perhaps the most lasting as it highlights the problems of a society, past and present.

In collaboration with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the cast is, refreshingly, predominantly female, and all remarkable actors are uniquely provoking in their own performances. Whilst Prospero’s Australian accent is rather questionable at times (perhaps somewhat confusing for Shakespeare first-timers in the auditorium), he and sprite Ariel (most originally played by the talented Kenny Boyle) make for a clever power couple in this story of havoc, revenge and forgiveness. A wondrous set up serve for a wonderfully talented cast as this production of magic, mystery, true love and traditional Shakespearean trauma marks an attention-grabbing opening to Mayfesto’s promising series of events.

The Tempest highlights near enough perfectly the prevailing issue of cruelty that has not yet ceased in our everyday lives. Although Shakespeare is a tempestuous playwright at times, his passion and concern when it comes to fundamentally disturbing themes is overarching in his important works. The MACCT students are inspiring, talented and devoted from the outset. Not a mistake made and not an eyebrow risen in perplexity during this brooding stage-show. Yet another reason not to set Glasgow’s arts and culture scene quietly set aside when this high standard of talented actors and actresses are ready and waiting on our doorstep.

[Emmie Harrison]

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