From: Thursday, 7th December 2000
To: Saturday, 17 February 2001
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Prospero, Duke of Milan, his dukedom usurped by his brother Antonio, is put to sea with his daughter Miranda and some magical books smuggled in by his loyal councillor Gonzalo. The sea casts them up on an island where Prospero, exercising his magical powers, makes a home for himself and Miranda. One day a great storm, which Prospero has conjured, breaks up a passing ship and delivers to him the members of his usurping court. Treacherous brother, fellow conspirators and old friend alike come under Prospero's spell. Shakespeare's last play.
19 December 2000
This is the third production of Shakespeare's last play in London in a year, and it's by far the best (and the wettest).
For the final production before the Almeida is closed for a major refurbishment, designer Paul Brown has really pulled out the stops. Knowing that the site is going to be completely gutted, he has created a set dominated by a deep pool. The opening tempest is one of the wettest that you re likely to see (unless you were one of the unfortunates who stood at the Globe this year – this time however, it s the cast that gets wet).
Director Jonathan Kent has opted to play the piece without an interval and, with some judicious cutting, the whole evening is just over two hours. It's an excellent idea - it means that the audience can get gripped by the tale without interruption.
But it's not only Brown's imaginative set that makes this a worthwhile evening. The production is considerably enhanced by Ian McDiarmid's melancholic, embittered Prospero -...
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