TEMPEST by William Shakespeare, directed by Michael Shamata, with John Jarvis, Oliver Dennis, Patrick Galligan, Todd Hofley, Tanja Jacobs, David Jansen, Brandon McGibbon, Alex Poch-Goldin and Manon St-Jules. Presented by Canadian Stage at the Dream Site, High Park (east of Grenadier Cafe). Runs to August 19, Tuesday-Sunday 8 pm. Pwyc ($12 suggested). 416-367-1652 ext 500. Rating: NN
shakespeare's final play, the tem- pest, is steeped in magic. CanStage's outdoor production, here inexplicably abbreviated to Tempest, has also cut out most of the work's enchantment.Blame director Michael Shamata. He offers a clear story and actors who mostly manage to communicate the play's language, but he fails to bring much feeling to the tale.
John Jarvis's Prospero rarely commands as he should, though he lends a nice touch of humanity to the magician. Neither Tanja Jacobs's green-faced, white-garbed Ariel nor Brendan McGibbon's neutral Caliban is engaging, and the young lovers (Todd Hofley and Manon St-Jules) make little impact.
Best are the play's villains and clowns. As Antonio and Sebastian, Alex Poch-Goldin and David Jansen suggest polished evil in their murder plot, but there's something askew in a production of The Tempest if these figures offer a richer subtext than most of the other characters. Oliver Dennis as the drunken Stephano and Patrick Galligan as his dim-witted follower Trinculo come close to stealing the show with their comical shenanigans.