Wild horses wouldn't drag Nick Philippou to see what passes for a quality production of Shakespeare in this country.
'We stage his plays very badly here,' the artistic director of the Actors Touring Company says, his voice amplifying
despair down the line from Glasgow, where ATC have pitched camp for the night. He has foresworn visits to 'Hamlet'
('The idea of being part of an audience that's sitting there thinking 'Hmm, l wonder how he's going to do 'To be or not
to be'? makes my heart sink'). He detests 'Shakespeare In Love' ('It expresses everything that is wrong with our
attitude to his work'. And he's got a very sizeable axe to grind against the RSC, where he once worked as an
assistant director.' It is so trapped in its own theme park world, trying to please tourists with those fruity voices and
that gorgeous nudgy acting that is not even thinklng about how Shakespeare might be done in the future.'
And who shall rescue us from this perilous state? Step forward Philippou, who is unafraid to present his company's
new version of The Tempest as a bedazzling ray of hope. Needless to say, he didn't see the recent acclaimed RSC
production directed by Adrian Noble, starring David Calder as Prospero, but a comparison with It would clearly be
odious. His small-scale Tempest' majors in Irreverence; it's vaunted affinities are wth the visual daring of outsiders
like Robert Lepage and Peter Sellars.
“there is no questioning the sheer imaginative power of Philippou's staging, or the highly wrought but delicate physical
and vocal command of the three actors. The result is exactly what it sets out to be: a chimera, and an excitingly
theatrical one at that.”
“English's superb, measured performance… It is quite a journey, and at times one of great wonder…invigorating…
fascinating…points the way we can free ourselves from the chains of theatrical tradition.”
“haunting and artful…hypnotic…a potent imaginative validity… A purist's nightmare; a tonic for the open-minded”
“extraordinary…a cut 'n' paste techno Tempest…technological marvels…sheer verve, vocal precision and beautiful
movement…unusual and exciting…a truly 21st century Tempest.”
“Rating 5 stars… High tech trip into magic and self-discovery…fast-forward alchemy for the K generation.”
“Weird and thrilling…an astonishing aural landscape…always fascinating and sometimes magnificent…a rare intensity