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After the captivating successes of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Othello and many of Shakespeare’s divine masterpieces, Fort Canning Park saw a full house audience at the opening night of Shakespeare in the Park – The Tempest on May 2.

From the fantastic theatrical artifice to the elaborate performance, the much anticipated annual Shakespeare in the Park series by Singapore Repertory Theatre (SRT) have definitely satisfied the thirst of literature enthusiasts in Singapore.

Following consecutive days of downpour, the weather gods answered the silent prayers and bestowed clear skies upon us. Many took this opportunity to spend time with family and friends, enjoying the night breeze on a picnic mat while watching the play under the night sky.

Julie Wee and Simon Robson in SRT's Shakespeare in the Park - The Tempest (2)

The Tempest began on time with Prospero, the right Duke of Milan, played by Simon Robson. Donned in a scarlet robe that dragged behind him, he walked down the aisle amidst the audience with a grave look on his face and balancing a magical staff on his shoulder while holding one end. Julie Wee played his daughter Miranda, and the affable duo assumed their roles well especially when they were conversing on the reason to why the father and daughter were exiled to the island.

The play continued with the entrance of Ariel, the airy spirit who seemed hesitant in doing her duties ordered by Prospero. Ann Lek was a natural at being chirpy and fast in her movements, which brought the character of the airy spirit to life.

Daniel Jenkins, Theo Ogundipe and Shane Mardjuki in SRT's Shakespeare in the Park - The Tempest

The performance of Caliban, a savage and deformed slave, aptly played by Theo Ogundipe, was also noteworthy and most impressive. Immersed in character, it was easy to forget that it was an actual person acting that role – he was deliberately agile and animated through his dramatic portrayal of the deformed creature.

The tempest that had happened earlier on had caused the separation of Ferdinand, the son of King of Neples (Timothy Wan), from the rest on the ship. As per Prospero’s orders, Ariel lured Ferdinand towards Miranda by playing a piece of strange yet melodious music, which allowed them to come face to face.

SRT's Shakespeare in th ePark - The Tempest 2015

The little romance started between Miranda and Ferdinand tickled the audiences’ funny bones, especially since he was literally the first man she has ever seen. She described him as ‘divine’ and he called her a ‘goddess’. Awwww…

The comedy didn’t stop there. A jester named Trinculo (Shane Mardjuki) spotted the hiding Caliban, not realising that Caliban was a live creature. Trinculo feared a sudden tempest coming and hid under the clothing of Caliban despite complaining that there was an ‘ancient fish smell’ emitting from it.

Dumb meets dumber when Stephano, a drunken butler acted by Daniel Jenkins, came across the shelter and referred it as a creature with four legs and two voices. He caused another wave of laughter as he tried to feed Caliban alcohol to tame the creature and bring it back home to earn wealth.

The interaction of the trio was funny and enjoyable to witness, fulfilling the play’s comedic aspect. Alas, Caliban discloses his hatred for his master and plots to get rid of Prospero with his two found allies.

As quoted by Shakespeare: “the swiftest hours, as they flew”. The story flow of the play was comfortable and gratifying, and the characters’ impeccable performances amplified this. Upholding their world-class standard in their annual plays of the Shakespeare in the park series, The Tempest only assured us that there would be more greatness to come.

 

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

 

What did you think of The Tempest and what’s the next play you’d like to watch in the Shakespeare in the Park series?

 

Information:

Ticketing Agent: Sistic

Ticket Price (excluding booking fee): S$45 (All Shows Except Sat), S$55 (Sat)

Performances: All staged from Wednesday through Sunday from 29 April to 24 May 2015 at 7.30pm. Gates open at 6.30pm for audience to choose their picnic spots before the performance begins.

School Night (Fridays): 8 May, 15 May & 22 May 2015