Shakespeare’s Globe has opened its sunny new production of The Tempest at its Southbank home.
Read reviews from the London critics, including the Guardian, the Times, TimeOut and the Telegraph.
Directed by Sean Holmes, this modern dress production stars Ferdy Roberts (Prospero), Peter Bourke (Gonzalo), Nadi Kemp-Sayfi (Miranda), Rachel Hannah Clarke (Ariel), Ralph Davis (Trinculo), George Fouracres (Stefano), Joanne Howarth (Francisco), Olivier Huband (Ferdinand), Ciarán O’Brien (Caliban), Patrick Osborne (Antonio), Lucy Phelps (Sebastian), and Katy Stephens (Alonso).
The show is designed by Paul Wills, co-directed by Diane Page, with Naeem Hayat as assistant director, Cassie Kinoshi as composer and Rachael Nanyonjo as movement director.
The Tempest is playing until 22 October 2022 at Shakespeare’s Globe, London.
Main photo: Marc Brenner
The Tempest reviews
"Some rough edges but a sunny delight"
"Even Shakespeare is not immune to the Love Island aesthetic"
"Though stylised throughout, Sean Holmes’s staging presents the narrative as clearly as I’ve ever seen it: this is very much the island love story of Miranda and Ferdinand, as well as a rollicking comedy and a tale of revenge."
"Roberts’s fiery, leonine Prospero occasionally goes over the top, but his is a bold and literally exposing performance (thankfully his line “I will here discase me” is a cue for him to put more clothes on, rather than take more off). The scenes with the noblemen are laboured, though again, the narrative of betrayal and displacement is limpidly clear."
"The bard in budgie smugglers"
"Sean Holmes’s gleefully comic take is a riot of holiday colour and fun, featuring luminous lilos, stag do bantz and a playful Prospero in eyewateringly tight trunks"
"Academics have long agonised about how to categorise The Tempest but director Sean Holmes’s gleefully eccentric production is unequivocally comic. The great magician Prospero wears exceedingly tight bright yellow swimming trucks – and nothing else – for much of the show. Blow-up lilos feature heavily. Cheeky ad-libs and contemporary song choices, including a particularly raucous rendition of Three Lions, tear strips through Shakespeare’s text. It’s a rag-tag concoction but, in its best moments, it’s a riot."
"The energy stays consistently high but what’s missing is the magic – and the power and grace that the suggestion of sorcery lends to Shakespeare’s language. Prospero’s book of spells is bound together with a Tesco bag and Prospero himself only feels commanding in the play’s dying moments. It’s a shame because there’s a rough-hewn playfulness about Ferdy Roberts that might have made for an unsettling Prospero, with a frightening kind of magic at his fingertips."
"Three Lions, blow-up lobsters and Prospero in a pair of budgie smugglers"
"Sean Holmes's modish adaptation has gimmicks aplenty, but somehow works"
"The Tempest was classed as a comedy in the first folio. That assists Holmes’s bold decision to steer away from a reverent reading of its study of a brother betrayed moving towards forgiveness, and look for funny-peculiarity in unexpected places. He gives this late play the kick of upstart youth."
"I was in two minds about Holmes turning ‘Our revels now are ended’ into a bitter sting in the tale, but it’s of a piece with a production that unpacks Shakespeare’s strange cargo without much care for precedent, and subjects it to fresh inspection."
"Sean Holmes directs a super-fun production of Shakespeare’s magical final play"
"... Holmes’s production is aware of the environmental and post-colonial dimensions of a play that is, very much, about a bunch of Europeans bringing their junk – both literally and figuratively – to a magical, unspoilt shore. But it’s also a bloody good laugh."
"It’s a lighthearted ‘Tempest’ with darker undercurrents and a lovely intimacy provided by the moments performed on the small added thrust stage - O’Brien’s call and response routine with the audience towards the end of the first half is a proper bit of Globe magic. The Globe Ensemble of actors are also really cooking with gas at this stage: some of these people have basically done nothing but perform in Shakespeare plays since the Globe reopened last spring, and the ease with the language and ability to work the crowd is markedly better than the non-Ensemble shows this summer. It won’t go down in history as a revolutionary production, but as a crowd pleaser it’s inventive, compassionate and really just a pure joy."
"Inflatable lobsters and football anthems make for gimmicky Shakespeare"
"It’s vivid, cheerfully garish and never dull, but it’s also gimmicky. Ariel’s song of enchantment is a rendition of the football anthem Three Lions, crooned over a feast of fast food; the robes that Prospero leaves as bait for George Fouracres’ bullyish Stefano and Ralph Davis’s Trinculo are Harry Potter merch. All of that strips away the fantastical and brings the drama closer to us: it’s redolent of drunken Brits abroad, and of our colonial past."
"This is, though, a DayGlo romp, flimsy as a lilo, if just as buoyant."
"Sean Holmes takes enjoyable liberties with his party island Tempest"
"Ferdy Roberts’s entertaining Prospero is an intemperate old beach boy who talks too fast in tight, sunshine-yellow swimming trunks. This is a show that abjures magic, trading it in for nicely engineered laughs."
"You wouldn’t want every Tempest to be as breezy, but there is a fine clarity to the lighthearted storytelling. In particular, it reminded me of the extent to which this is a play about dredging – about weird and not always wonderful human finds, washed up by the sea and needing to be scrutinised, pondered over and understood."
"The Tempest at the Globe is gaudy, playful and smart"
"This is a vibrant production and the ensemble achieve great rapport with the audience, but it could venture more into the depths"