Theatre Preview: The Tempest @ Barbican’s Silk Street Theatre

By Londonist Last edited 93 months ago
Theatre Preview: The Tempest @ Barbican’s Silk Street Theatre

April sees the return of Moscow's Chekhov International Festival to London with what you might think of as a surprising production. No it's not the Cherry Orchard, but The Tempest.

But forgetting the name, Cheek by Jowl's Russian sister company has a great track record of creating enthralling, Russian translation, Shakespeare productions. Director Declan Donnellan and set and costume designer Nick Ormerod, have already brought us their brilliant production of Twelfth Night, and The Tempest promises not to disappoint.

Those who find Shakespeare’s language challenging enough already might be put off by its translation into Russian. And of course there will be those who would rather visit The Tempest's desolate island through Shakespeare own words, declaring that The Bard's poetry is his quickest means to our hearts.

Yet what this production promotes is the idea that Shakespeare transcends the linguistic and the verbal. Cheek by Jowl asks that we stop concentrating on every word of the text as though we were doing our GCSE coursework, and become engrossed in the world on stage. And Russian is no stranger to the task of depicting Shakespeare’s language; arguably two of the greatest film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays are Grigori Kozintsev's King Lear and Hamlet.

Of course the proof is in the Russian pudding. So if you find yourself in either of the camps above, this is a perfect opportunity to see one of the finest theatre companies producing Shakespeare beyond the English language. наслаждайтесь. (Enjoy.)

The Tempest is at the Barbican’s Silk Street Theatre from 7 to 16 April. Tickets £21 to £26. For more info and to book tickets, visit

By Jon Davis

Last Updated 06 April 2011