Review: Youthful cast’s take on The Tempest

Sudbury Dramatic Society's production of The Tempest ANL-160622-134604001
Sudbury Dramatic Society's production of The Tempest ANL-160622-134604001

Sudbury Dramatic Society members have big ambitions, not only do they intend to take Sudbury by storm this week, but they are then travelling to take their production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest to Spain.

This week, Quay audiences are treated to a performance involving live music, movement and poetry under the watchful eye of Annie Eddington and her team.

No effort has been spared to provide a spectacle of enchantment and wonder on a shoestring. The opening scene involves the shipwreck, always a tricky start, but the cast performing the movement of the waves made a stunning effect.

The cast are on stage throughout, and undertake many parts, acting and singing. This works well and helps the plot flow along, although it gets a bit tough for Tom Eddington and Tom Hollister to differentiate their parts when doubling up, and it would have been kinder to give some of their lines to other members in the chorus to avoid some confusion to the audience in the final scenes.

Alonso, usurping king of Milan was cast against gender, but Heidi Bernhard-Bubb performs with great dignity and made the character her own.

Robert Crighton plays Prospero who is prepared to wreak a very well planned vengeance on all who plotted against him in Milan, that’s nearly everyone in the shipwreck, with the exception of the isle’s indigenous inhabitants, who aren’t very happy either.

Luckily Prospero mellows during the course of the play and all ends well.

Jessica Millar as Caliban and Sarah Byham playing Ariel stood out in their diction and expressive performances, their oppression by Prospero and their struggle for their freedom were quite moving, amongst a talented cast giving their all.

Miranda looks sweet and lovely, but needs to project her voice more to be heard over the music. It is a youthful cast in general, and experience in performance will be gained.

Janine and Martin Plackett helped set the moods and scenes by integrating the music as part of the action as well as setting the songs.

It is a luxury to have live music at performances and it was greatly appreciated by the audience. As usual production values in sound and lighting were high.

The performance runs through to Saturday at Sudbury’s Quay Theatre.