A family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.

6/11/2017

Review: Taking Flight Theatre presents William Shakespeare's The Tempest.




We've been very keen to catch a Taking Flight production ever since we met them at Chapter Arts this year during the Get Creative Weekend. The Tempest has been on my radar ever since I saw it advertised at Chapter, so I couldn't wait to attend and review the show!


I've also been very keen to see more immersive theatre, especially with George and Molly. I think it's completely different to traditional theatre, and it completely takes you out of your comfort zone as a member of the public.

We assembled at their box office and received wrist bands for the duration of the performance. There were lots of photo opportunities, so of course we took full advantage of this…

When it was time, we followed the crew and sailed to the first scene. The story follows Prospero, who, after being shipwrecked with his daughter Miranda, vows to avenge the betrayal bestowed upon them from his brother, Antonio. But will his plan run as smoothly as he hopes?

I really loved how warmly we were welcomed by Prospero performed by Dean Rehman. Rehman is a very talented man, both Warren and I really enjoyed his performance. He had the right amount of confidence, humour and an abundance of performing talent. He really stood out and I felt his powerful presence during the whole performance as he acted as Prospero.

Ariel (Milton Lopes) was also fantastic, his performance was very soothing, his spoken voice perfect for the Shakespearean language. He seemed to just ooze the presence of Ariel, a powerful and playful spirit. 

 
The costumes were phenomenal, with lots of colour and texture (I love textures!) and the use of the 'Island Studios Sound Effects Machine' was such a lovely touch. I loved the explanations of each sound effect, and even though certain elements brought humour to the crowd, they were also pretty magical and inspiring. We love creating musical sounds from weird and wonderful objects and I think this is something George and Molly would love to develop now they've seen other examples.

I love how the play has been developed into a 1920's setting, it worked well, especially with the likes of Stephano (Samuel Bees) and Trinculo (Huw Blainey). They were absolutely hilarious, a bit like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, offering light-hearted and humorous elements to the show. Warren loved Huw Blainey on the piano and mic, he really entertained and we both felt he was super talented!

 

Ioan Gwyn was very impressive as Ferdinand, his acting was strong and his performance powerful as he did his best to refrain from the advances of Miranda. I loved how he read the Shakespearean lines with such passion and precision. Miranda (Steph Back) was also very wonderful on stage, and Steph Back and her interpreter worked seamlessly together without any confusion.

I really loved the inclusion of British Sign Language, Sami Thorpe created words with her whole body and alongside this she added emotion and a performance that entranced us all.

I loved the location of the performance, out in the wild and windy air (we had good weather!), it felt freeing and allowed George and Molly to move freely instead of being tied to a seat for 2 hours. The layout and route around the park was a lot of fun, and the props and scenes were beautifully bold and rich with colour.

I do think there is a bit of an issue with the public, often I saw people join us who hadn't bought a ticket/wristband, so maybe segregating part of the park off for the performance would prevent this from happening? Sometimes sound was lost depending on where we ere sat, so I'd suggest staying together as a tight group with the other members of the audience. 

 

The music and song elements were big winners for George and Molly, they loved singing and dancing along. At first they were a little restless, I think the moving around and language confused them somewhat, but after a while they just went with it and embraced it. They too liked all the quirky elements of the show, especially the sound effects. There's also plenty of space for children to roam if they do get a little restless, and each member of the cast acted in a kind, gentle and sometimes humorous way towards all the children.

I think it's fantastic to introduce my children to the diversity of life within theatre (and beyond) and Taking Flight Theatre amazed me with its abundance of talent, individuality and heart.

The Tempest will be performed next on Sunday 18th June, a perfect Father's Day gift, wouldn't you say? Check out Chapter's website for more information.
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