I honestly do not know where to begin. I did not think it was possible to ruin a production of The Tempest but somehow I ended up sitting through a mangled version of it. There was an odd dichotomy to the production. The set, and stagecraft were strong but the direction and acting poor. So poor in fact that I almost walked out because going home to watch Rambo with Alex seemed like the better option but I stayed because I thought it might get better. It didn’t. The direction was incredibly confusing. It was really very odd how they wove it all together, and at one point Ariel change into a dress and then later he had Icarus-style wings thrust on him. WTF?
None of the cast stood out. There was not a compelling perforamce amongst them, and they all acted as if they were on horse tranquilizers. Prospero (Stephen Dillane) was limp, castrated, and with no rage. Ariel (Christian Camargo) was an odd combination of Data (from Star Trek) and the vampire dude from Twilight: insipid and emotionless. Ariel and Prospero wafted about the stage without any real presence, and that made me really angry as they are such strong characters. Do not get me started on Caliban (Ron Cephas Jones) who pretty much channeled Beetlejuice throughout (even down to the make-up). I did like the set. The back part was flooded to represent the sea, and the front had a large sand circle as the island. The majority of the action took place in the circle, and those not in the circle sat in randomly distributed chairs in the “sea”. Visually it worked, and you felt like it was a ship wreck of discombobulated people.
I was really disappointed as this is a high profile production (after BAM it goes to the Old Vic in London) and it should have been better.