Venue: C Venues - C eca
18 August 2011 WOS Rating: Shakespeare will always be a part of the Fringe. Equally, it will always be difficult to craft a performance that is both fitting in terms of innovative style, and acceptable in terms of timings.
In many regards, what Backhand Theatre has created is innovative in that it blends acrobatics, physical theatre and Shakespeare, while it also provides viewers with a speedy running time of one hour. Nonetheless, creativity and rapidity by themselves do not guarantee a satisfying piece of theatre, and the overall effect of this production is rushed and discordant.
There are moments when the use of acrobatics amplifies the sentiment at the heart of the original text, such as the swimming sequence during the opening shipwreck scene; however, there are times when it seems superfluous and distracting to the rest of the performance. Most noticeably this occurs during the epilogue when Prospero asks for the audience to forgive and release him in the form of their applause, but in actual fact most of the audience are gazing upwards at Ariel spinning around his acrobatic chair, thus diminishing the power of the play’s ending.
With so much cut from this play the magic of its words has been reduced but, sadly, the charm of the acrobatics doesn’t quite restore the imbalance.
- Charlotte Pegram
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