The Tempest

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

A brave new world that hath such creatures in it. This production is a brave experiment indeed.

Director Peter Sowerbutts steps out with a mainly female cast. And why not? In Shakespeare's day all parts were played by

men.

Susan Seddon holds sway as Prospero, gradually growing into the wordy role of rightful duke.

On one level it is story about justice restored, and the feminine touch lends a fresh perspective.

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Lucy Stevens is Ariel, the airy spirit, and, if not ethereal, brings a quirky presence.

Caliban the ragged and deformed slave (Barnaby Matley) finds the humour along with the jester and drunken butler. Billy Dickens as Miranda, the innocent girl raised, knowing so few other faces, had the most difficult

part but carries it with conviction.

The experiment involves a range of styles. Full of surprises that give delight but hurt not. The fantasy spirit scene employs larger-than-life puppets.

The set is magnificent with a rotating ship hull. A mark of the spellbinding quality on the opening night was how a large group of young people were held enchanted throughout.

Perhaps it could have borne the risk of an entirely female cast but they are to be congratulated for going this far.

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