The Tempest (1984): Everyman Theatre, Liverpool
PrThe Tempest (1984)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Neil Boorman (Ariel); Carl Chase (Caliban); Ricco Ross (Prospero); Simon Slater (Ferdinand); Cathy Tyson (Miranda).
This production ran from 26 January - 25 February 1984.
"Few Prosperos acknowledge the final curtain of The Tempest with a standing back-somersault; or deliver lines flat on their back, legs in the air, with Ariel perched on their feet. Glen Walford's production for the Everyman, Liverpool, sees the magic island as a circus ring peopled by clowns and acrobats....On the central podium the striking-looking black ringmaster cracks his whip like something out of Lulu. The company enters as a parade of clowns. On trundles the grey-skinned Ariel in a giant hamster's wheel; the young lovers are suspended in a skeletal crescent moon high above the action. Actors awaiting their cues sit round the ring adding to the isle's noises by humming or playing instruments....Ricco Ross, from TV's Hill Street Blues, is a vigorous young Prospero whose writhing before the conspirators' plot suggests the inner torment of long self-exorcism come to fruition. When happier with his clipped Patrician English, he may deepen this sombre interpretation, an unusually serious ringmaster not above sinking to the level of an anguished Caliban....Burt Caesar attacks a vivid Sebastian [sic] with the relish that would invigorate any Jacobean machiavel; and neither over-careful elocution nor feathered tutu can disguise the forthright strength of Cathy Tyson's dusky Miranda, perhaps more suited to modern naturalism." ~ Financial Times, 31 January 1984
"Glen Walford's unusual new Tempest piles shock upon shock, albeit a little self-consciously. First, a super cool young black Prospero, built like a mule-driver and cracking a ring master's whip in the centre of a sparkling circus ring - 'whip kindly loaned by Merseyside Police (mounted division)". His daughter Miranda is graceful, gleaming, distinctly coffee-coloured, and plumed like an exotic bird as she perches, dreamy and enchanted, in a crescent moon. This is certainly a change from the run-of-the-mill megalomania colonist wizzard and dutiful daughter who has seized an island and turned its single retarded natives into their household slaves....And yet Carl Chase's strangely muted Caliban, finny and primative like a grey lizard with a bald head, is still the archetypal victim, the exploited savage. What on earth is this production trying to say about Shakespeare's - or Walford's - attitude to primitivism as compared with oppressive civilisation?" ~ Irene McManus, Guardian, 27 January 1984