2016 Club of the Year, NUTS (New South Wales Theatre Society) creates a world of magic realism and fantasy in their sold-out run of The Tempest for their first offering of the year. Distinct from traditional runs of the show, The Tempest uses song and dance as transitions and impressive aerial choreography to maintain the attention of the audience through the lengthy Shakespearean prose. The Tempest is believed to be the last play Shakespeare wrote alone, and is considered one of his best works, exploring his own role as artist through the characterisation of Prospero.
NUTs’ production brings back seasoned nutters and fan favourites as well as new performers in a diverse cast that play to their strengths – James Coates and Isabella Merrilees-White are particularly good in their comedic take of Susanna and Antonio providing a reprieve from the more intense scenes; Naks Suresh is amazing as always, creating a Caliban that is equal parts sympathetic and pathetic; Joe Knights has a commanding presence as Prospero; Stu Maclaine (excellent as usual) brings emotion to Alonso; Grace Swadling performed Miranda with nuance; and newcomer Harry Winsome is nymph-like and mesmerising playing Ariel. The costumes set the scene, while the live band created an immersive ambience.
The play was an imaginative and interesting take on The Tempest, with experienced performers pulling off difficult, convoluted prose and effectively translating it to a modern audience in a stylish and captivating way. Did I mention the strobe lights?