The Tempest 

A talented performer lifts Shakespeare's tale

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If you’re a small theater company putting on a Shakespearean play, you’re facing a touchy balance of upside and downside: the advantage of beginning with a terrific text, versus the potential awkwardness of less-experienced actors wrestling with Elizabethan prose.

Around the Globe Theatre Company’s production of The Tempest hits a few of the expected bumps, but it’s also a more accomplished interpretation than you might have reason to expect. Veteran director Beth Bruner begins her version of the story—about the exiled Duke of Milan, Prospero (Tony Porter), whose magic raises a storm that brings those who wronged him to his island home—with a series of arresting silent tableaux. And that’s only the first compelling choice in a show that folds broad slapstick, nimble choreography and bold costumes into a terrific-looking piece of theater.

It’s also an opportunity for one of the great pleasures of catching a smaller production: Discovering a tremendously talented young actor. As Prospero’s daughter, Miranda—an innocent teenager whose only knowledge of the world is the island—J.J. Peeler delivers a simply lovely performance. There’s wonderful gentleness to her romantic moments with the newly shipwrecked Ferdinand (Jonathan Sherman Tate) that brings added charm to a girl who’s never seen a handsome young man before. Even when other cast members are a bit less assured in their work, Peeler and the rich direction by Bruner bring real life to this Tempest.

Around the Globe Theatre Company
7711 S. Main, Midvale
Through July 30

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