"Elegant and atmospheric Tempest Psychodrama"
by Rachel Knightley for remotegoat on 06/02/16

Bibliophiles and 'rough magic' practitioners Nick and Miranda believe they have found their Ariel in Will, and that they will be able to harness their unstable powers by holding him captive. Where the real power comes from is explored through a ménage a trois of toxic, violent codependency in which everyone wants to be Prospero.

A slow start and too-gradual recovery meant it took a while for a sense of the world they were sharing to be established; however, each performance rose to moments of individual and shared conviction and intensity that create a compelling production and suggest a director and company well worth watching.

The central relationship between wannabe wizard Nick (Max Sterne) and his contrast, the social and self-confident Will whom he seduces and takes hostage (Ben Boskovic) to harness his power, could have done with more exploring in the text itself. The actors, however, found as much as could be asked and more. Passion, curiosity and nonchalance made these recognisable, convincing and empathetic young men and sustained all necessary surprise as their darker purposes and histories seeped into the action. Blood letting generally, and the main set piece injury specifically, were handled with conviction and visually believable even in the front row (the one time you want reviewers to squirm - and I certainly did), with many eloquent physical details: how to psycoathically peel an orange; the casual gestures of the lies Will constructs around his previous cuts. Changes of status took us by surprise and were well inhabited; apparent non-sequeters were invested in to show deep understanding of characters' thought processes. I didn't quite believe the kidnap victim would stay in his captor's house however sexy the captor was, but having so much to interest in this production, this was thoroughly forgiven.

Sian Morgan does extremely well with a difficult job as the too-conveniently named Miranda, with script problems giving her a lot of repetition and little development; she exists very much in relation to Nick but finds charm and humour to sustain the character on her own terms.

The level of 'telling' over 'showing', and much repeating, means the story at times became murky rather than mysterious. Similarly, the discovery of knife and all activity around the bed made of books felt too self-conscious and deliberate; it worked aesthetically - as did the projection of window and weather, giving a depth to the small stage that is hard to achieve. However, having the central pile of books play the bed was too hard to act with. Excellent performances but parallels to The Tempest and magic were clearer in the blurb than in the play. While both company and playwright are well worth watching, both might equally be safer in more experienced hands in their early days.

Other recent reviews by Rachel Knightley
The Tempest
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Incident at Vichy
Eloquent creeping realisation of unimaginable by Rachel Knightley
The Ancient Mariner
Narrative poem in magical miniature by Rachel Knightley