TOM TITUS -- Theatre Review

For his closing number, "The Tempest," William Shakespeare borrowed

quite liberally from an earlier hit, "A Midsummer Night's Dream," albeit

in a slightly darker vein.

At Orange Coast College, which is closing its summer season with the

Bard's last play, this often-haunting cross between comedy and drama is

played exceptionally lightly with a cadre of spirits rivaling those in

"Midsummer" and a lighter-than-air flavor that favors reconciliation over


Director Alex Golson has cheerfully turned Shakespeare's "Tempest"

into a zephyr -- even the "monster" villain is more comically

misunderstood than vengefully evil. David Scaglione's setting in the

large Robert B. Moore Theatre is dabbed in colorful blues, greens and

violets, underscoring the fantasy aspect of the play.

"The Tempest" unfolds on an island off the Italian coast where

Prospero, the rightful duke of Milan, has been unceremoniously exiled.

He's made the place his own and raised his daughter, Miranda, from

toddler to blossoming young woman. When a vessel is shipwrecked --

largely by Prospero's own doing -- the crew struggles ashore, including a

young noble who's a perfect candidate for a son-in-law.

Greg McClure projects a powerful Prospero, though his articulation

occasionally falters even if his character doesn't. Andrea Gonzales is a

captivating Miranda, joyously falling for the equally smitten Ferdinand,

shyly enacted by Cade Bourne (Angela Lopez and Derek Wiley share these

roles at alternate performances).

As with any "Tempest," the plum roles are those of the good and evil

spirits, Ariel and Caliban respectively, and their impact is magnified in

the OCC production. Miracle Laurie is a delightfully flighty Ariel, a

beautiful spirit in perpetual motion, while James Grant plays the

gnarled, behorned Caliban as a benign troublemaker, gleefully devouring

his share of the scenery.

The drunken crewmen who become Caliban's comrades are rendered with

gusto by James McGinnis and Jared Carns. Alan Fattarini requires more

seasoning as the reigning noble Alonso, while Hugh Goodearl as Prospero's

delinquent brother Antonio and Travis Woods as his henchman Sebastian

contribute effective performances, and Raine Hambly is an elegant


Rachael Maddalena's choreographic contributions enhance the fantasy

portion of the production as spirits Danielle Johnson, Daunielle Hauser,

Erin Ainsworth, Elizabeth Silverman, Melinda Seaman and Nicole Shearin

drift in and out of the proceedings with effortless grace. Cynthia

Corley's attractive costumes enhance the visual effect, as do Sean

Shryer's lighting choices.

"The Tempest" closes out a single week's engagement with final

performances today and Sunday, having logged three daytime stagings for

student audiences. It's a colorful concoction calculated to go down


* TOM TITUS reviews local theater for the Daily Pilot. His reviews

appear Thursdays and Saturdays.


WHAT: "The Tempest"WHERE: Orange Coast College's Robert B. Moore

Theatre, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa

WHEN: Closing performances 8 p.m. tonight and 2 p.m. Sunday.

COST: $6-$9

CALL: (888) 622-5376

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