This mash-up between The Royal Shakespeare Company and Intel (cue that irritating noise) took years in the planning and millions of pounds in research and development and was directed by RSC supremo Greg Doran.
Simon Russell Beale’s excellent, thoughtful and understated Prospero plays alongside a hologram Arial, you see, nimbly and dexterously played by Mark Quartley in one of those body suits made famous by Andy Serkis playing Golum in The Lord of The Rings, and indeed it was Serkis’s Imaginarium Studios who helped bring the technology to the stage.
This transferal to The Barbican stage is the second time I’ve seen it – having called in to Stratford in November during its initial run, and I have to say the technological innovation landed more convincingly in London, but, and this is a big but, not convincingly enough.
Sadly the hologrammery just doesn’t work as well as the conventional stagecraft, it breaks the audience from the world Russell Beale and co have worked so hard to plonk us in and it’s jarring. That’s not to say that the experiment has been a waste of time however – technology has always had a place in the theatre and these attempts need to be made to keep us all moving forward; I just think, however, that this time I didn’t buy it.