The Mound Lawn, Mona Vale Gardens, Christchurch

12/02/2014 - 22/02/2014

Production Details

Top Dog Open Air Summer Shakespeare 2014 

In its tenth year of delighting Christchurch with summer Shakespeare, Top Dog Theatre brings you The Tempest. This witty and colourful play is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved and whimsical tales. 

Situated on an island, Prospero opens the play by using his supernatural powers to conjure a storm, causing the wreck of a passing ship. Among those who become stranded on the island are his evil brother, a young heartthrob, the Queen of Naples and a drunken Butler. They soon encounter the impish Ariel, and Caliban, a fish-like monster.

Written with a superb balance of comedy, cunning and confusion, The Tempest is a fascinating fairy-tale which is sure to enchant and delight. 

Set in the idyllic Mona Vale gardens, this is a chance to lay out the picnic rug and soak up the early evening sun. The show will cater to young and old, as this is Shakespeare in its most viewer-friendly form!

Top Dog Theatre presents
Wed 12th – Sat 22nd February 2014
Performances start at 6pm
except Sunday – 2pm matinee only
The Mound Lawn, Mona Vale Gardens, Christchurch
Ticket Prices: $15 / $10 concessions
The Court Theatre Box Office:
phone: 963 0870
Gate sales available – come early. Security patrolled parking.

Toilets and refreshments are available on site.
Sit on a picnic blanket (at the front), or low/high chair (seating is segregated for audience viewing) and remember to bring plenty of warm clothing. 

Prospero:  Michael Adams 
Miranda:  Sarah Greaves 
Ferdinand:  Criss Grueber 
Alonsa:  Anna Willows 
Gonzalo:  Russell Haigh 
Antonio:  Aaron Boyce 
Sebastian:  Nick Cheesebrough 
Adrian:  John Willoughby 
Francesca:  Paige Delaney 
Ariel:  Sarah Pratt 
Caliban:  Daniel Crossen 
Trinculo:  Vaughan Luckman 
Stephano:  Giles Wood 
Iris / Spirit:  Pauline Ward 
Ceres / Spirit:  Emma Pratt 
Juno / Spirit:  Maddy Albertson 
Boatswain / Spirit:  Matt Joils 
Master / Spirit:  Matt Lang 
Spirit:  Andie Hanson 
Spirit:  Emma Reynolds 
Spirit:  Aimee Coey 
Spirit:  Dragomira Webster   

Production Manager / Artistic Director / Marketing / Founder Top Dog:  Derek Doddington 
Set Design / Construction:  Derek Doddington, Russell Haigh, Julian Fellowes, Diana Hinterleitner and cast & crew
Props:  Diana Hinterleitner, Nikki Bleyendaal, Derek Doddington, cast & crew
Technical Crew:  Frank Connor, Richard Goodwin, Isaac Hansen
Marketing:  Derek Doddington, Sarah Pratt
Art Designer:  Angus Trevella 
Music:  Robert Tait, Stephen Tyerman‏
Front of House:  Diana Hinterleitner, Trish Rasmussen, Leonie Partridge, Tessa Lagerstedt
Costumes:  Court Theatre, The Costumery, Original Scripts Theatre School, Nikki Bleyendaal, Anna Willows, cast & crew.

Theatre , Outdoor ,

Spectacle, movement and fun

Review by Elizabeth O’Connor 16th Feb 2014

Under Derek Doddington’s leadership, Top Dog Theatre has developed a creditable facility in attracting keen young performers and audience members alike.  The experience and skill of those on stage may be a little variable, but it is a pleasure to see a large (paying) audience of all ages assembling in bright sunshine for the Sunday matinee, in the exquisite environs of the Mona Vale gardens. 

The grassy stage is broad and deep, dotted with logs and rather fake-looking rocks, but with the performers miked and only a couple of tiny sound glitches, barely a word is lost.  Director Nikki Bleyendaal makes full use of the space, including having the ever-present spirits illustrate Ariel’s narratives. 

Mike Adams plays a composed and powerful Prospero, with Sarah Greaves as his surprisingly effervescent and tactile daughter.  Other standout performances include Aaron Boyce as the usurper Antonio, his ambitious but ineffectual colleague Sebastian, played by Nick Cheesebrough, and Anna Willows who plays Queen Alonza with authority and great clarity.  Russell Haigh is an amusingly sententious Gonzalo. 

Daniel Crossan (Caliban), Giles Wood (Stephano) and Vaughan Luckman (Trinculo) carry the comic underplot with physical and vocal aplomb. 

The emphasis throughout the production is on spectacle, movement and fun.  The darker sides of The Tempest story, such as Prospero’s own partial culpability in his fate and the dubious relegation of Caliban to simple-minded monster slave, are skated over.  The griefs of those who believe they have lost their near and dear in the tempest do not ring very deep.  Ariel’s songs are shared among the company, and they and the pageant of “goddesses” feel lightweight and without dignity. 

There is much to enjoy, nonetheless, and as a community theatre enterprise uniting seasoned artists with keen novices, in an inimitable setting, The Tempest pleases its audience thoroughly. 


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