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Cast and first look at Wildcard Theatre's new show Tempest at The Pleasance

Ben Simon as SEBASTIAN, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Ben Simon as SEBASTIAN, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli

New show Tempest from the company behind Edinburgh Fringe hit Electrolyte comes to The Pleasance this Spring.

The new production from Wildcard Theatre will run at The Pleasance from 11 March to 3 April 2022.

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Applying their gig-theatre style to Shakespeare’s final play, Wildcard heightens the narrative with incredible live music and breath-taking design to question what it means to be human.

Directed and adapted by James Meteyard (Electrolyte, Pleasance Theatre; Redemption, The Big House), and with original music by BBC Young Composer of the Year Jasmine Morris, this is Shakespeare like you have never experienced it before.

The cast of talented actor-musicians includes Loren O’Dair (Dream, RSC; Peter Pan, National Theatre) as Ariel, Tashinga Bepete (The Railway Children Return, Studio Canal; Red Rose, BBC/Netflix) as Ferdinand, Ben Simon (Romeo and Juliet, The Dukes Theatre Company; Dunsinane, RSC) as Sebastian, Ruby Crepin-Glynne (Road, Northern Stage; The Syndicate, BBC) as Miranda, Gigi Zahir (Haus of Cray, Royal Vauxhall Tavern; 5 Guys Chillin’, Kings Head/Assembly Roxy) as Trinculo and Antonio, Alexander Bean (Good Morning Britain (Voiceover); Teddy, Southwark Playhouse) as Caliban, Eleanor House (Long Shadows, Birmingham Rep; Doctors, BBC) as Stephano, Rob Meteyard (The Uses of Poetry, Barnstable Fringe) as Gonzalo, and Kate Littlewood (The Last Days of Don Juan, Worlds Apart, RSC) as Prospero.

Kate Littlewood as PROSPERO AND Ruby Crepin-Glynne as MIRANDA, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Kate Littlewood as PROSPERO AND Ruby Crepin-Glynne as MIRANDA, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Ben Simon as SEBASTIAN AND Gigi Zahir as ANTONIO, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Ben Simon as SEBASTIAN AND Gigi Zahir as ANTONIO, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
STEPHANO CALIBAN AND TRINCULO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
STEPHANO CALIBAN AND TRINCULO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Tashinga Bepete as FERDINAND, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli (2)
Tashinga Bepete as FERDINAND, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli (2)

Wildcard’s notorious gig-theatre style has achieved critical acclaim – most notably, Electrolyte won five awards, including the prestigious Mental Health Fringe Award. Entirely underscored by live music, featuring newly composed songs, as well as Shakespearean originals, this adrenaline fuelled reimagining brings a fresh perspective to a timeless classic.

Tempest is performed by nine actor-musicians, with a detailed sound design that immerses the audience in a rich audio world. The exhilarating fusion of live music and theatre serves to make productions more accessible and attracts a demographic of audience that has low engagement with the arts. Accessibility is at the heart of the piece – this is a show that truly speaks to a modern, younger and more diverse audience, who may not think Shakespeare is usually for them.

Banished to a mystical island with nothing but their magical books, Prospero waits in isolation for twelve long years. Consumed by a desire for revenge, they forge a new life with their daughter Miranda, slave Caliban and servant-spirit, Ariel. Using Ariel, and all his qualities, Prospero conducts a terrible storm to shipwreck their enemies, stranding them in Prospero’s new kingdom. Divided, lost and confused, the group find themselves at the mercy of twisted vengeance. But will Prospero’s bitterness destroy them, or will humanity prevail?

The visually striking production features bold and vibrant set, costume and lighting design to accentuate the themes and questions within the text – with special effects to create a unique, visceral experience and explore the characters’ heightened world of high fashion. The audience are therefore taken to some of the darker and more uncomfortable moments in the play, in order to draw parallels with our own world. Ultimately, this is a play about humanity vs society. It is about the age-old structures that we have fabricated in our society to create imbalance, and how these take us away from what is at the core of our humanity: love, compassion and care.

For tickets and more information, visit pleasance.co.uk/event/tempest

Director James Meteyard commented: “I’ve been thinking about this show for about five years now and working on it for about three! I love Shakespeare and truly believe he’s the UK’s most culturally significant playwright. But I often feel that when his plays are presented in the theatre, they’re inaccessible, boring or not engaging, particularly for a younger or non-traditional theatre going audience.

“After seeing how well these demographics engaged with gig-theatre on Electrolyte, I wanted to apply this form to Tempest – a play whose central character Prospero has been in Isolation for 12 years, a feeling we can all relate to following the last couple of years. It has wizards, spirits, monsters, a drag queen, live looping, rock, funk, drum and bass, rap and a bold and vibrant set and costume design.

Eleanor House as STEPHANO AND Gigi Zahir as TRINCULO, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Eleanor House as STEPHANO AND Gigi Zahir as TRINCULO, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Gigi Zahir as TRINCULO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Gigi Zahir as TRINCULO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Ruby Crepin-Glynne as MIRANDA, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Ruby Crepin-Glynne as MIRANDA, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Tahinga Bepete as FERDINAND AND Eleanor House as STEPHANO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Tahinga Bepete as FERDINAND AND Eleanor House as STEPHANO Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Loren O'Dair as ARIEL, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli
Loren O’Dair as ARIEL, Tempest, Credit Lidia Crisafulli

“At its core, this production will examine our society and ask: what does it mean to be human? I’m excited to look at these age-old themes through a modern lens as I’m confident they’ll resonate just as powerfully today as when they were first written.”

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