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The Enchanters

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The Enchanters

Dates: 31/05/2011 - 04/06/2011

Location: State Theatre Centre of Western Australia

by John Aitken

Presented by Prickly Pear Ensemble

Richard Burbage Richard Mellick
William Shakespeare Nick Maclaine
Southampton Cody Fern
Kemp/Essex Andrew Hale
Nathan David McLeod
Robin Sam Tye
Sir Robert Cecil John Pratt
William Sly Ethan Tomas
Robert Armin Nick Candy
Queen Elizabeth I Edgar Metcalfe
Chief Justice John Aitken
Director/Designer John Senczuk
Costumes Penny mazzucchelli
 Lighting Trent Suidgeest


... The Enchanters succeeds admirably to recreate the time and place. Director/designer John Senczuk's set is marvelously adaptable ... [he] has his large all-male cast bustling about the stage at break-neck speed ... But perhaps the real deal we make with The Enchanters is a reaffirmation of our belief in live theatre - to never stop believing in the magic.
Jan Hallam, The Sunday Times

Director John Senczuk capably controlled the large, star-studded cast. He kept the action moving rapidly through this production, as we watch with interest part of the Globe being built. … The simple, yet extremely effective set (designer John Senczuk) was of rustic beams and curtains.  … Here we have a serious though enchanting script that will please all age groups. Shakespeare’s magic lives on.
     Gordon the Optom, Theatre Australia

It's a ripping yarn, with cloak-and-daggery at court and lawyers, swords and money in the streets. … The Enchanters is well served by some strong performances. Nick Maclaine … generally delivers a convincing portrayal of the ambitious, astute and masterful man Shakespeare undoubtedly was. Similarly impressive are Richard Mellick in a robust, hearty performance as Burbage, Andrew Hale in high form as both the grand old Falstaffian clown Will Kemp and the overreaching, doomed Essex and, especially, Nick Candy, strikingly good as Robert Armin, one of the new breed of more subtle comic actor perfect for Shakespeare’s revolutionary theatre. … Director Senczuk [does] well to shepherd the large cast through Aitken's wordy and complex text. Senczuk [has] produced a small triumph of design on what I'm sure was a tiny budget, delivering a clean and stylish look for the show, made even more effective by the spare khaki costumes that are both timeless and, tricked up a little here and there, pointed and evocative.
     David Zampatti, The West Australian

Director/designer John Senczuk is to be congratulated on the clever way he has choreographed some very difficult, even athletic, moves, and the cast is to be commended on their well-timed execution. The Enchanters is, in fact, a very clever play. Aitken has taken lines from many of the bard’s works and woven them into the dialogue. The drawback, of course, is that those lines will be wasted on audience members who are not Shakespeare geeks, but the bawdy business and the frequently athletic physicality of the action provide compensation for those who might miss some of the gagss …A highlight comes at the end of act one, when the players present scenes from Henry V to the accompaniment of muffled drums that gradually increase in volume and tempo. On a semi-darkened stage with a primary red backlighting, the resulting ambience is eerily threatening. … The set was simple, as befits a play set in Tudor times, and the costumes – basically military fatigues for the actors with more elaborate embellishments for the aristocratic roles – adequately reinforced the feelings of threat and dissolution inherent in the plot. Metcalfe frocked up beautifully for his red-wigged, white-leaded Queen Elizabeth, and there was some amusing high camp fun from the boy actors, looking suitably uncomfortable in their drag scenes. Plenty of high jinks and not a little music also feature in the production.
     Carol Flavell Neist, ArtsHub