Cast away your weekly stresses at St Kilda Botanical Gardens at Melbourne Shakespeare Company’s jolly romp-in-the-park version of Shakespeare’s classic, The Tempest. In the relaxed open air you will meet the characters of this magical play and experience its themes of power and forgiveness, as the cast make merry at this festive time of year. This show is suitable for all ages and has a family-friendly feel.
The story follows a shipwreck on the island of exiled Duke Prospero, whose beloved library of books helps him to hold sway in this idyllic new ‘court.’
The play involves hypnotised courtiers, romance with the Duke’s daughter, a quest for freedom, and a history of natural wonders.
A great summer tradition, outdoor Shakespeare plays hark back to a time when families gathered to tell famous tales. The production reproduces this relaxed and comic mood, where the charismatic actors parade for attention as in pantomime. The company gives this Shakespearean story a modern feel with the familiar locations of Canberra and Melbourne.
Emma Pursey is captivating and dignified as Prospero. The cast sing and play live music with aplomb, adapting contemporary pop songs such as Justin Beiber’s ‘If I Were Your Boyfriend’.
The actors wander in and out of the performance area via the crowd from behind the trees and bushes, while the audience watch as the magical spirit Ariel splits into three and moves about like wild birds of paradise!
The costumes are ‘modern primitive’ and have a playful flair, adding colour. Prospero’s last minute supplication to the audience is considered to be the author’s farewell to the stage and is very moving.
This shortened production of the full play includes both deep and fun elements. Bring your own chair and rug, and maybe something to eat. It gets cooler at night, so, ensure you have something to protect from the wind. This magical folly shows runs for 6 nights only.
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On the street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope.