The Mad Duck Equity Co-op

The Tempest
by William Shakespeare

Venue: Jericho Arts Centre
Dates: 3 - 20 March 2004

Reviewer: Lois Carter


Director Jack Paterson Assistant Director Amanda Lockitch Composer Jeff Tymoschuk Costume design Moira Fentum Set design Allan Frisk Lighting design Erin Nelligan Choreographer Julia Henderson Graphic Designer Tessa Matsuzaki Hair/Make Up Designer Sarah Cooper Stage manager Kirsti Mikoda    


The Tempest - Gwynyth Walsh, Jenny Paterson, MadDuck Coop Finding shelter from the darkness, wind and rain the audience gathered in the foyer for the opening night of Shakespeare’s comedy The Tempest with a sense of eager anticipation.

Allan Frisk's clever set design was a small stage that resembled the shape of a three tiered grand piano around which the audience was seated in a circle interspersed by 8 stage exits. It immediately encapsulated the feeling of being on a small island enhanced by the soft sound of rolling waves and seagulls in the background by sound operator Michael Berdan. The setting was ideal and the house was full.

Director Jack Paterson chose to use a female for the character of Prospero, an innovative risk that he felt was worth taking given the contemporary nature of tonight’s performance . Gwynyth Walsh who played the role possessed both the presence and the strength to give the necessary authority to the undeniable magical power Prospero has over the island and its inhabitants

The interaction between Prospero and the mischievous spirit Ariel (Jenny Paterson), whose character holds much of the play together, was particularly creative. Cast as an ‘Airy Spirit’ there was a sense of ethereal transcendence that united with Prospero’s humanity culminating most vividly with the line “Do you love me Master?”

Anna Cummer showed great versatility in her role as Miranda , sufficiently precocious yet appealing and endearing in the scenes with her affianced Ferdinand (Jon Paterson)


Alonso (John Prowse), King of Naples and Ferdinand’s father, has a striking depth and timbre in his voice that could have given a more commanding stage presence to his role as the weak but villainous King. Sebastian (Paul Herbert) and Antonia (Carole Higgins) made a creepy murderous duo. Pam Hyatt (Gonzala) portrayed a most noble counsellor and Ian Alexander Martin a Lord. Trinculo (Bert Steinmanis) and Stephano (Keith Martin Gordey) were exceptionally amusing in their scenes with ‘celestial liquor’ and with the three spirits, Laura Jaszcz,  Nitsike Kheswa and Terri Anne Wilson.

David Purvis who played the savage deformed slave Caliban gave a consistently outstanding performance.

The Tempest is full of wonder and magic and is open to numerous interpretations. Tonight, the costume design by Moira Fentum and the director’s innovative use of women in traditionally male roles made for a sparkling performance and produced some very fine acting indeed.

Mad Duck Co-Op is to be congratulated not only for the standard of player, but the conviction within their performance and subsequent engagement with the audience. Set in a contemporary style the unequivocal message of the trials and triumphs of human relationships was very well portrayed.

It could not have been a more fitting tribute to the late John Juliani to whose memory the performances are dedicated.

© 2004, Lois Carter