Listen Closely

There's little magic to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's Tempest.

If the entire cast were working at this level, the production would be a resounding success, but the acting is uneven. Offering her love to Ferdinand with a childlike lack of guile, Tara MacMullen is a charming Miranda. Christopher Young moves well and suggests flickers of human feeling in Ariel's inhuman bosom. As costumed, directed and performed, Benjamin T. Koucherik's Caliban is a little too cuddly. I can't imagine why an actor in his twenties would be cast as an old man in a professional production, but there's no way Jon Liddiard can carry off the role of Gonzalo, and this miscalculation exacerbates the weaknesses of a couple of other actors playing aristocrats. The theater's outdoor setting favors performers with strong voices and a vivid presence, and Ben Horner and the physically gifted Mark Jaynes do well as Stephano and Trinculo. The special effects are weak, particularly the dancey, white-robed spirits, and the direction sometimes feels a little muddy.

Matthew Penn towers over Benjamin Koucherik and 
the rest of the cast as Prospero.
Matthew Penn towers over Benjamin Koucherik and the rest of the cast as Prospero.

Details

Presented by the Colorado Shakespeare Festival in rotation with The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, and < i>Unexpected Shaxpere, through August 19, 303-492-0554, www.coloradoshakes.org
Mary Rippon Theatre, University of Colorado-Boulder

But given Penn's performance -- as well as some of the strengths of the festival's Merchant of Venice, and last season's magnificent Measure for Measure at the Denver Center -- I have to think Shakespeare will never really slide into oblivion. As long as we in the audience do our part. Say it together now: Our REVels NOW are ENDed. THESE our ACTors/As I foreTOLD you, WERE all SPIRits AND/Are MELTed INto AIR, inTO thin AIR...

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