The Steampunk Tempest

The Steampunk Tempest from Some Kind Of Theatre offers exactly what is says on the tin: Shakespeare's The Tempest accompanied with steampunk themed costumes and props. This bold stylistic choice from director Emily Ingram richly enhances the mystic atmosphere of the faraway island, but the performances needed to match this originality to raise the standard of the production as a whole.

Their excellent grasp of fantasy proves steampunk Shakespeare does work

Steampunk is mostly confined to art and fashion so it is exciting to see the group Some Kind Of Theatre bring the genre in a new direction. The fantastical nature of The Tempest lends itself well to steampunk and this modern day genre is embedded seamlessly into Shakespeare's work. Though it isn't specifically based on the theme, the storybook backdrop of the stage, which includes pages to be turned to illustrate the right setting, definitely adds to the mystical sense of the piece.

The two stand-out performances of the production are undoubtedly Christopher Paddon as Prospero and Calum Moore as Ariel. Inkeeping with the steampunk genre, Prospero is depicted as a mad inventor, which works with the character’s need for control at the beginning of the play. Moore successfully conveys Ariel as a supernatural being through a range of movements and mannerisms. Though his twitching is slightly too much for a small stage at times, he is interesting to watch and contributes to the magic of the piece. Unfortunately, some of the other performances in the play are unconvincing and lacklustre. Aside from the two aforementioned characters, no others seemed so show any kind of originality in their interpretation. Diction also needed to be watched as sometimes when the actors spoke quickly their words became difficult to follow.

In the general theatre sphere, problems arise with The Tempest when performers try to take it too seriously. It is best not rated against Shakespeare's tragedies or his more highly revered comedies, but instead embraced in its full sense of fun. The real success of Some Kind Of Theatre is that they had fully understood this. Their work could definitely use some further polish, particularly in some basic areas of acting. However, their excellent grasp of fantasy proves steampunk Shakespeare does work, and in that I definitely learnt something!

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Prospero, former Duke of Milan and steampunk inventor extraordinaire, is plotting. Exiled to a far-off island, he is conjuring up a storm which will drive his enemies to the island and help him enact revenge...

Part of PBH's Free Fringe.