by Amos Crawley
The idea of Shakespeare adaptations using puppets is a brilliant one; it seems it would particularly lend itself to a play of magic and wonder like “The Tempest”. A pity then that the Shakey-Shake & Friends Company doesn’t seem to trust their source material very much. Rather than presenting a version of “The Tempest” that would be palatable to kids, the company members seem intent on cramming in as many Twilight, Harry Potter, Apple and Lord of the Rings references as possible. The pop cultural obsession begs the question: who exactly is this production for? The children in the audience aren’t in on the ironic nature of spot-the-reference and on the afternoon that I saw the show, they looked bored much of the time. The parents may get a snicker or two out of it, but given the chance to give the kids a taste of magic (“The Tempest” after all is a fairy-tale), it’s something of a wasted opportunity.