First night: January 26, 2011 – France (Theatre Les Gemeaux (Paris, Sceaux)), March 3 – Great Britain (Warwick, Arts Centre)
First night in Russia (Moscow) – May 25, 26, 27
This is a very clear-cut, bold, playful and stirring performance. It is Russian and it is Irish too. It is the summit of the world literature. It is Shakespeare at his most universal best. <…>
This time we are offered Shakespeare’s testamentary play performed by Russian actors. Isn’t it a bit too supercilious to go to Sceaux to watch great Shakespeare performed in Russian? No, it isn’t. That night public was reluctant to let the actors quit the stage after all the joyful and striking experiences they made us go through. <…>
Declan Donnellan managed to dig down to the ultimate meaning of the play and he did it with childish affection. He presented us with the childhood of the art. In this he was largely helped by Nick Ormerod who created an intricate space consisting of trees, doors and passages. This space basically lacks any bearing structures but the visual effect is much enhanced by imaginative and amusing projections
Armelle Héliot – «Le Figaro»
The Tempest turns out to be superb, bringing to Shakespeare’s enigmatic late play a thrilling freshness, urgency and wit. For two hours I was spellbound. What Donnellan and his tremendous company of Moscow actors bring to the play is the absurd and often cruel humour that is found in so much Russian literature, and especially in plays such as Gogol’s Government Inspector and Chekhov’s early Ivanov. <…>
The play is often laugh-out-loud funny, but Donnellan and his actors also penetrate The Tempest’s heart with the help of fascinating, fresh-minted performances. <…>
Blessed with wild invention, blazing performances and a final sense of unsettlingly qualified forgiveness.
The staging, mesmerisingly performed in Russian, is fluid, conveying the viewer through the action with tidal force. Water is everywhere. It bursts through the doorways of Nick Ormerod’s set, drenching the mariners aboard their foundering ship. It’s poured with amused malice by a black-suited, barefoot, pale Ariel and his identically clad attendant spirits from a watering can on to the head of a shivering, comically camp Trinculo. <…>
As the island’s tottering despot, Igor Yasulovich is engrossing. His efforts to tame Miranda (Anya Khalilulina) are an unsettling blend of paternal care and brutality. <…>
An astute and absorbing vision of cruelty and compassion.
Anya Khalilulina’s Miranda is a tender yet feral adolescent, with a dark cloud of hair. Father and daughter veer between fits of faceslapping and soothing kisses. <…>
Every character is played with heart, from the inside out, as you’d expect from Russian actors. Ilya Iliin as Trinculo, for instance, exudes comic uncertainty in his heart-breaking portrayal, while rubicund Sergey Koleshnya simply is Stephano, the cook and bottlewasher who’s been knocking back the grog for days. This is a fine, fresh, bold look at a play that can sometimes seem over-familiar and sentimental.