The Porters of Hellsgate return to NoHo with one of my personal favorites, “The Tempest.”
Why do I love it? Because of all Shakespeare’s plays, “The Tempest” is the most complete to me.
It’s full of magic and humor, but balanced by darkness and control and revenge. The characters are dramatic but human, hilarious but meaningful, and the revenge is dealt with by love, not violence, which is nice…especially given the current climate.
So I was ready to be very, very happy when I took my seat, knowing that The Porters of Hellsgate always give absolutely everything they can and are usually brilliant. I was not disappointed.
From the very beginning, this play is both honorable to the text and vivid and fresh with the casting and the performances. Leon Russom is perfection as Prospero. Giving a thoughtful, sweet and wily performance, holding the audience in the palm of his wistful hand. His story is the one the play pivots around and we must connect with him, believe in him and trust him, otherwise the play becomes a series of amusing scenes. But Russom’s Prospero is so centering and gently bold that he makes everything else possible.
There are many other stellar performances here, full of life and laughs and magical delight. Ariel is particularly preternatural. Christine Sage plays her entirely aloft, suspended from the theatre ceiling, held up by cascading silks and skills quite breathtaking…more magic, and stunning she is too!
But everyone is quite brilliant. All these roles are played fantastically well as cleverly crafted pieces of the whole. “The Tempest” is considered one of Shakespeare’s finest works and to do it justice takes a brave company, which The Porters of Hellsgate is, of course, now on their 26th production as they work their lovely way through Shakespeare’s entire canon of work.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”
I loved this production. It has a lightness of touch and a reverence for the beautiful words and iconic characters but still manages to find freshness and newness in these disparate people wandering this lonely isle. The staging is also light, simple but extremely evocative and fluid, fitting itself wonderfully around the various storms and ships and cells and wilderness. There is passion in this production, from everyone involved and I cannot encourage you enough to see it. We are very fortunate to have this particular merry band of players calling NoHo home. Bravo!
Running April 28 – June 3, Fridays and Saturdays at 8PM, Sundays at 2PM
Directed by Alex Parker
The Whitmore Lindley Theatre, 11006 Magnolia Blvd., North Hollywood, 91601
Leon Russom as Prospero, Christine Sage as Ariel, Michael Bigley as Adrian, Thomas Bigley as Stephano, Sean Faye as Alonso, and Timothy Portnoy as Trinculo, Will Block as Ferdinand, Matthew Jayson Cwern as Antonio, and John Tourtellotte as Caliban, Whitton Frank as Sebastian, Kita J. Grayson as Miranda, and Julia Silverman as Gonzalo.
Micah Cover is the production’s Magic Consultant.