Thursday, September 28

The Tempest – Norton Priory

The Multi Award Winning – A Place for Us Theatre Company in partnership with Cronton 6th Form College aimed to present their present Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ in the stunning woodlands theatre space nestled in the 42-acre ancient grounds of the phenomenal Norton Priory Museum & Gardens.

A Place for Us presently continues their Shakespeare legacy after a successful run of their previous interpretation of Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth in 2021/2022.

Due to our unpredictable seasonal weather in the UK nothing is a given, so a huge credit to the Creative Team, Director/Producer Kate Allerston, Chis Bastock Producer/Music & Sound Design and Stage Managers both consultant and Cronton College students for turning the show around bringing it into the breath-taking Norton Priory Museum. Once a medieval church and monastery dated from the year 1134 this was the perfect setting for Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’.

The theatre company consisted of Cronton performing arts students working alongside professional actor Colin Kiyani, as part of the Shakespeare week in the woods project. I believe the students had learnt their individual lines prior to coming together and rehearsing for only one week before they performed the play, which is extremely impressive.

‘The Tempest’ is the tale of Prospero (Colin Kiyani) who uses magic to conjure a storm and torment to the survivors of a shipwreck, including his brother Antonio (Caitlin Smith). Prospero lives on a remote island with Caliban (Callum Baker) – the metaphor for colonial oppression who has been enslaved by the mighty Prospero. Prospero also has his spirit servant Ariel played by three amazingly talented ladies (Libby Hughes, Lily-Mae Randles and Daisy Carey) and of course his one and only child Miranda (Phoebe Tasker).

The theatre company performed a shortened synopsis of the play lasting just one hour which enabled the audience to stay engaged and also encourage a younger clientele to enjoy the works of Shakespeare without it being too long and hard to follow. My 15-year-old co-reviewer particularly enjoyed the modern slant on the characters Trinculo (David Slater) and Stephano (Lucy Hilditch) with their drunken antics singing along to ‘in the jungle’ clutching a bottle of £8.49 bottle of Gordons Gin. This duo injected comedy and fun into the play which was greatly appreciated by my co-reviewer representing the youth of today point of view on the show.

The show’s moral is ultimately about revenge and forgiveness with a love pairing thrown in for good measure between Prospero’s daughter and Ferdinand (Daniel Ford). The strong cast of 13 members did a sterling job in their interpretation, I would have loved to have seen it played in the woodlands as opposed to indoors as I can imagine it lost some of the naturalist intentions and the projection of their voices which were intended to fill the outdoors was a little too loud in the acoustics of an enclosed space.

It is clear that the 13 strong cast have put their hearts and souls into the play and have worked extremely hard to deliver this pleasing performance of ‘The Tempest’. The play was pleasantly interactive with the audience, the costumes and makeup were spot on for the characters, deserving of a colossal well done to the team and all involved.

The Play continues at The Norton Priory until Sunday the 23rd of July, then continues to the Liverpool Theatre Festival at the ‘Bombed out Church’ on Sunday the 30th of July 2023.

Reviewer: Katie Leicester

Reviewed: 22nd July 2022

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.