While As you like it sparkles not least to Juliet Rylance's and Stephen Dillane performances thanks to an overall brilliant cast The Tempest makes you question Prosperos motivation. Many of the brilliant cast feel underused in The Tempest. Again it is Rylance who is the only real driving force in the play. Carmago as android-like Ariel, Ed Bennett as Ferdinand and Alvin Epstein are doing a good job, but cannot make up for the strangely passive Prospero. Whatever acoustic problems there might have occured in the past, they have been no issue last night.
5 stars for As you like it and 3 stars for The Tempest are justified - Elisabeth
08 Aug 10
The reviews of THE TEMPEST had made me fear the worst so it was a very pleasant surprise to discover that Sam Mendes' Bridge Project production is actually very good and occasionally quite magical. Condensed to 135 minutes without an interval this is a highly spiritual Tempest and the relationships between Prospero and Aerial and also Caliban are very well conveyed. As last year, the mix of British and American actors does not always work well but there can be no complaints about a quite brilliant performance by Juliet Rylance as a radiant and blossoming Miranda. Stephen Dillane has clearly taken on board the criticisms of his audibility but his portrayal of a distinctly world weary Prospero is devoid of any charisma and seriously underwhelming. What a shame it was not possible to cast Mark Rylance as Prospero with his exquisite step-daughter as Miranda and even her real husband as Ferdinand rather than Aerial. That would have been very special but in the meantime this Tempest exceeded expectations. - David Baxter
15 Jul 10
I agree with the criti(s) I waqs on row M in the stalls, Dillane was difficuly to hear. The whole was low keey and had some magical moments. An interesting contrast to the RSC production with Antony Sher. - D. Bishop
03 Jul 10
Totally disagree with the critics about The Tempest. It must've somehow had an off night when they went, or maybe it's just a punishing idea to see both plays in one day. But I loved the coolness and spaciousness and reflection of The Tempest; Dillane was perfectly audibly the night I saw it, and Christian Carmargo's Ariel the most profound and affecting reinvention of the pesky cherub nymph I've ever seen. Both shows are delicious. - Theatresquirrel
02 Jul 10
Agree in the main with Maxwell. As You Like It has a lovely melancholy hue - particularly the first half - that brings something fresh to it, though there are some trademark Mendes cheap gags in the second. And Juliet Rylance is wonderful. But The Tempest (which I saw first) is a mess from the start. They nip through it in just over two hours, and every time it flags another unrelated idea / costume is thrown in. Dillane channels his introspective Hamlet for Prospero, even he sounds bored with it all! Overall, Mendes relies too much on filmic music which underscores many scenes and visual effects: less can be more with this talented ensemble.
As You Like It - 4 stars
The Tempest - 2 stars. - dgr1
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