“I was quite impressed with the group efforts of the Spirits and the Monsters in their complete stillness and quiet focus. In the second act, there is the appearance of what appears to be a bird-like dragon which had me captivated and spellbound. For a few minutes, I couldn’t avert my eyes from the puppet-like movements and marveled at its execution.”
“Ariel is the most important role André Morin has yet played at the Festival and he gives a stunningly assured account of it. When speaking or singing Morin has Ariel glance beyond or through the material world around him as if to the other reality where he is home…
If you have always thought of The Tempest as an enigma, this production may the one that shows you how beautifully the play make sense. “
“Henry gets to say lines that no woman has ever said at this theater — and that every creature of the theater covets. When she gets to the last three words of “Now I want spirits to enforce, art to enchant,” she hammers them home partly like someone delivering their own eulogy but also like a high school valedictorian who cares about arts education. And then she disappears up into the sky, an artist transformed into spirit.
Acting can be a crummy life, but as I watched, I kept thinking about how this theater was at least allowing one of its true greats one heck of an exit.’
“There have been angrier Prosperos over the years, but Henry chooses to bring a quiet wisdom to the role — and you can easily believe that this includes the accumulated wisdom reflected in this actress’s own decades of service to Canadian theatre…Many of Stratford’s most dependable company members are on hand for this production and that means an abundance of riches.”
“The romance between Ferdinand and Miranda is delightful. Director Antoni Cimolino, and actors Heins and Zwettler find the perfect balance between heart-warming and sweet and awkward and funny as these characters embark on a young romance.”
“The magic in this production comes from Henry herself. She commands the stage, as any Prospero should, but adds so much as a mother figure…
Henry’s Prospero has a special relationship with Ariel, which, too, seems motherly. Ariel is the fairy-like figure who is compelled to serve Prospero because of a spell cast by a witch. André Morin as Ariel challenges Prospero to set him free, much as a child bargains with his mother.”
“Henry’s esteem at the festival after 43 seasons — the first of which cast her as Miranda against William Hutt as Prospero (the first of his two cracks at the role) — shows in her Prospero, which is so comfortable with the language that with a casual and relaxed delivery (even daring to mumble a few words, God forbid) she actually builds upon its strengths…
So this might clearly be Henry’s moment, but the rest of production is embarrassed with fine performances from Abbey as Antonio and André Sills as his partner in treachery, Sebastian — their tip-toeing around a potential murder plot of the king is a fine dance, as is Morin’s careful orchestration of it as Ariel…”
“While Henry’s outstanding performance and the design are true highlights of this production, the rest of The Tempest’s cast also deserve plaudits. Zwettler brings a convincing guilelessness and innocence to her performance as Miranda while Sébastien Heins is a suitably virtuous as Ferdinand. Stephen Ouimette and Tom McCamus are terrific in their roles as Trinculo and Stephano, the drunkenly bumbling villains. Scheming with the monstrous Caliban – played with a wonderful physicality by Michael Blake – to murder Prospero and take ownership of the island, the two actors still provide some of the biggest laughs of the play.
André Morin is wonderful as the sprite Ariel, using movement and mien to manifest the otherworldly nature of his fairy servant. Morin makes clear his character’s conflicting motivations – his gratitude to Prospero, his yearning to be free and his sympathy for the shipwrecked men.”
“You’ve got stage legend Stephen Ouimette displaying complete comic mastery as the clown Trinculo; his character seems always aware of how ridiculous he is, and yet is resigned to that fate. His scene partner is Tom McCamus as the drunk Stephano – and the two make the oldest jokes in the book seem fresh.
Over on another part of the island, Graham Abbey and André Sills are a riveting double act as Antonio, who stabbed his sister Prospero in the back long ago, and Sebastian, who is thinking of literally doing the same to to sibling Alonso to become the King of Naples…As for the romance between Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, and Miranda, the fresh-faced Sébastien Heins and Zwettler make it as sweet as you could wish.”