Paul T Barnes reviews Spunglass Theatre’s streamed production of This Noisy Isle currently playing online.
This Noisy Isle.
Presented by Spun Glass Theatre.
Online until 19th Feb 2021
Star Rating: 3
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Although the play has its critics, I have a fondness for Shakespeare’s The Tempest, probably because I’ve performed in it and it’s a great play for actors. Inspired by The Tempest, Spun Glass Theatre have created an interactive audio experience aimed at 7–11-year-olds, but suitable for all the family. Listeners are guided through a series of adventures by Ariel, and there is an activity pack to download so that the children can join and take part in the adventures.
All of the characters, Miranda, Caliban, Prospero etc., are voiced by Violet Ryder, and she displays a wonderful range of skill in portraying the voices and keeping the energy level high. Subtly playing on the themes of immigration and asylum, Mark Hayward’s script is accessible and contemporary, there are jokes about the infinite power of Zoom, and, as it’s based on their previous live tour of the play, the connection to the listener is very strong. Prospero is presented as a wizard, which makes him less threatening than in the Shakespeare, and the play is about survival and resilience, which are key themes in our current times!
When Caliban encourages the listeners to make a fort on the island, perhaps more vocal encouragement could have been given rather than have a ticking clock for a few minutes, and I think that more activities could perhaps be included in the pack. However, at a time of homeschooling, this is an excellent English assignment. It’s part of the Living Record Festival, a festival of digital media, which is well worth checking out!