Review: The Tempest at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome

NNF16. The Tempest at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

NNF16. The Tempest at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Photo: Helen Maybanks. - Credit: Helen Maybanks

If you are the head of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival it's a risky manoeuvre to direct its centrepiece. But artistic director William Galinsky has done just that – delivering a new version of The Tempest at one of the region's best-loved venues.

NNF16. The Tempest at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

NNF16. The Tempest at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome. Photo: Helen Maybanks. - Credit: Helen Maybanks

The Hippodrome at Great Yarmouth is surely one of the seven wonders of Norfolk. So what better place to take Shakespeare's most magical play? Just like the Globe, this O-shaped stage has set the scene for many spectacular acts.

But unlike the Bard's stamping ground, the sawdust can transform into a watery pool of fathomless depths, and all in the flicker of an eye. Or, of course, the touch of Prospero's wand – he only has only to lift his stick to raise a storm on this watery isle.

When the Duke of Milan comes

sailing by, it's the work of seconds to create a tempest and beach the naughty man.


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It is, however, the labour of several acts in the play to bring him to justice for robbing the magician of his rightful inheritance.

Tony Guilfoyle, as Prospero, plays

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the role in a masked and machiavellian manner that makes him sinister.

This shines an unusually bright light on his daughter Miranda (Pia Laborde Noguez), making hers the chief voice of both emotion and reason.

The mixture of circus and RSC style Shakespearean acting is reminiscent of Peter Brook's famous A Midsummer Night's Dream.

When Prospero's chief sprite appears, she is accompanied by an aerialist alter ego, who dives and twirls above, echoing the shadowy sub-text of her words.

And if I yearned for a little more coherence, even flamboyance in the design, this was ultimately a minor matter.

Galinsky's grand dare was worth the danger. A risk that's paid off prosperously.

Eve Stebbing

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