Wildcard Theatre promises “Shakespeare like you have never experienced it before”, and they deliver in spades with this new gig-style reinvention of The Tempest in the perfect setting of the Pleasance’s cabaret-configured main house.
Regular theatregoers are likely to know the plot points of Shakespeare’s final play. In a nutshell (spoilers!), having been banished to a mystical island with his daughter Miranda, spirit servant Ariel and slave Caliban, Prospero conjures a storm to shipwreck and torment the King of Naples, his treacherous brother and compatriots. But the King’s son Ferdinard, feared dead, falls in love with Miranda, there are high jinks with Caliban and comic foils Trinculo and Stephano, and eventually, once the families are reunited, Prospero lets go of vengeance, releases Ariel from her servitude and the island’s magic spell is broken.
But, as much as you may know the play, you are guaranteed to be surprised and delighted by Wildcard’s presentation, including a constant hum of original music as well as big stand-out, clap-along numbers, a fashion show, unicorns, a drag queen, an aerial Ariel and more, all performed by a talented cast of nine actor-musicians, under the direction of James Meteyard.
After last night’s performance of Tempest, I chaired a discussion with company members and Wildcard collaborators Tashinga Bepete, Ben Simon and Robert Meteyard (who also happens to be the director’s father), as well as the Pleasance’s Head of Theatre Nic Connaughton, who provides great insights into the theatre’s partnership with Wildcard, which started with the multi-award-winning gig hit Electrolyte.
Event photography by Anthony Kelly.