Julie Taymor offers a new vision of Shakespeare's play in which everything that is original and novel also feels inevitable and true. What makes it equally subtle and sweeping is Taymor's uncanny ability to fuse visual and verbal poetry and weld seemingly opposite dramatic forms -- as she puts it in a beautiful new "Tempest" book, "from visceral reality to heightened expressionism." She does this while preserving and enriching the core story. Helen Mirren is miraculously lucid and ardent as a sex-reversed Prospero named Prospera, and Russell Brand is perhaps the best Trinculo ever.
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