”Shakespeare as live circus (…) This version of ”The Tempest” has really understood and made actual the phrase, ”All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” With Danish and Chinese actors, musicians and performers the fairy tale story transforms itself into a theatrical experience with amazing surprises and a flat footed cheerful trot around the circus ring (…) Chinese circus is in a class of its own. The clowns have an ability to cast light over the most trivial motif. And the music can make ones thoughts seek new ways of thinking. Everything is mixed together with a huge professionalism in this version of “The Tempest”, which is not classical Shakespeare, but which, in the finest of ways, makes all his intentions clear (…) The ensemble uniquely entertained their audience (…) clever and marvelous.”
-- Frederiksborg Amts Avis
***** ”Noisy poetic clowning (…) the uninhibited, the unrestrained, the frivolous and everything else but the chaste was the hallmark of the theatre of Shakespeare’s age. Seen in this light, the Danish-Chinese production of “The Tempest” is exceptionally authentic (…) something so wonderfully contradictory as noisy poetry presented in a delightfully bombastic way: and without a doubt Shakespearean (…) Despite the intricate story line, Shakespeare’s message of forgiveness instead of revenge hits the mark – thanks to an extremely musical staging, where music, dialogue, entertainment, song and performance have the function of acts in a circus show (…) stark raving mad (…) everyone shines (…) one is entertained from the first tempest to the final magical stroke of the magician’s wand.
-- Fyens Stiftstidende
”Exceptional (…) this wild at heart version of “The Tempest” rolls across the stage and amazes us with the most sinful mix of virtuosity, clownish jokes, touching love scenes, circus, conjuring tricks, slapstick, children’s theatre as well as tenderly embracing The Magic Flute and Romeo and Juliet. The dizzyingly imaginative story is a little piece of Welttheater, the world’s multifarious peculiarities are gathered together on a little piece of land surrounded by sea and storms and capsized ships, the power of magic, which casts friend and foe alike into the waves, into sleep, into tomfoolery, transforms them into comical bumpkins, allows spirits to appear and disappear and hoards of ostriches make people’s lives uncertain – all down to Prospero, whom Tommy Kenter plays as if the storms of Hell were in his body but hidden behind a headmaster like peaceful and mild constraint (…) An enchanting linguistic introduction to a Shakespeare text, which may well be adapted but is never the less Shakespeare body and soul: and not just as far as the language is concerned (…) Laughter rings out when Lars Knutzon, Ole Sørensen and company get up to their antics and follow it through to the grotesque (…) The Batida Theatre Company’s musicians blow us away (…) A dumbstruck silence descends during the Chinese acrobats high flying aerial acts. Tears well up in our eyes when the young lovers are reunited. Or when little Ma Qingli, as the chief spirit Ariel, breaks into her delightfully charming smile and runs on and out of the stage like a snow flake as light as a butterfly (…) Giacomo Ravicchio has combined the incompatible. Shakespeare left in the lurch? Absolutely not.”
-- Gregers Dirckinck-Holmfeld
”Break through for a completely new interpretation of Shakespeare (…) Giacomo Ravicchio has fallen so much in love with the text that he has succeeded in creating an ambitious, global production (…) Meridiano Theatre’s international performers bid one welcome to the circus ring (…) And then the Danish clowns roll in (…) Lars Knutzon is a wonderfully charming drunkard, and Ole Sørensen is a delightfully funny, handlebared-moustached cook. Batida’s crazy, trumpet blowing, swollen-nosed orchestra spread delightful chaos (…) Mixed together with Shakespeare’s words in a spirited adaptation (…) the poetry pours in over the audience (…) As Ferdinand, the youthful Jiang Ke has an absolutely staggering sincerity in his stylized performance (…) and the enchanting He Huan gives to the role of the princess like Miranda a true chaste charm, which no western actress can any longer give. So much so that when the acrobat Wei Jinglong, as Ferdinand, puts his arms around his counterpart acrobat Zhang Shanshan’s Miranda and takes to the air in a flight of heavenly love, the audience flies too.”
Information, 7th January 2011
The Tempest contains already all the well-known and attractive elements : love, revenge and magic (…) but this version has much more : actors, clown and musician .(…) We were captured by this magical combination.
-- Literature Press Shanghai
Truly magnificent, complex and magical (…) combines this with clown, mime, physical theatre, magic tricks, acrobatics, live music and much more. The audience will have a incredible visual and musical experience.
-- TimeOut Shanghai
This version of The Tempest is completely different from every traditional Shakespeare seen before and offers so many diverse forms of expression creating an unlimited and very magical world of dreams
-- News Times Shanghai
The high point of this version of The Tempest is the perfect integration of widely different visual forms of expression. (…) a wonderful collision between different techniques (…) a unique opportunity to experience a creative ' concept' of Shakespeare's melodrama. -
-- China Cultural Daily
”Imaginative circus-theatre, where Chinese acrobats meet Danish clowning and grotesque characters all brought together with an arsenal of magic tricks (…) A cross-cultural circus, where the magician Prospero rules like a true ringmaster with top hat and wand (…) Ole Sørensen (…) lets his hair down as a French clown with his very own form of circus-English (…) amusing slapstick, especially when Batida’s musicians take the stage with their swollen noses, ostrich and astray underpants (…) the Chinese acrobatic acts give the whole show a lift (…) as for example when Ariel takes dizzying flight, floating around the ring as if she truly were a spirit of the air (…) Magical final image (…) Ariel is set free and puts on Prospero’s hat, while the toiling Ferdinand is married to Prospero’s daughter and Caliban is given rule over the island (…) this strange looking monster serves up the production’s final, magical image, which we here in Denmark haven’t a Chinaman’s chance of emulating: a body defying contortionist balancing glass pyramids on her head, hands and feet (…) The audience in Odense gave their thanks with a standing ovation.
”The stage is circular and lit with small glowing lightbulbs, a duo of ringmasters step into the arena and a loud invocation rings out: “Ladies and Gentlemen…". East Gasworks is at once transformed into an English Shakespeare Circus! (…) It can be difficult to translate the play’s national humour, its tragic and theological philosophy of life as well as the frequent use of meta-theatre for a modern audience, but Gasværk hits the mark. The laughter is general, divine Providence is laid down, and we are talking absolute meta-theatre, which runs full blast from beginning to end. All the characters are given a relevant circus role. For example, Prospero is a conjurer, Alonso a clown, Antonio a knife-thrower and a wild slave is the untamed lion. Brilliant!
(…) The acrobatic numbers function optimally as complementary items throughout the production. A love-dance up in the clouds, a lonely spirit’s trapeze display, and a slave’s evasive behavior acted out as a contortionist give the production a poetic, melancholic and emotional dimension, which are often absent in more traditional productions. But then there’s nothing traditional about The Tempest. It’s a circus filled with magic, acrobatics and clowning.”
”With his version of Shakespeare’s ”The Tempest”, Meridiano Theatre’s artistic director, Giacomo Ravicchio, sends a motley, theatrical ship of fools onto Gasværket’s large sea-stage. Four theatre groups with backgrounds in commedia dell’arte, Chinese acrobatics, music-theatre and traditional theatre deliver The Tempest’s tale of spirits, nature and mankind. The story is told with funny, grotesque and dizzying acrobatic images. The Tempest’s many words have been pared down to prose and reduced to a suitable number of scenes and incidents, which give room for acrobatics, conjuring and musical jokes. All splendidly in keeping with the spirit of the play. The orchestra supplies the background music and is superbly funny when they, with their orange wigs, hawk-noses and worn out circus uniforms, play a funeral march on the occasion of the sudden death of the trumpet. A thoroughly moving Meridianian theatre evening.”