Pomme and ‘Restes: Shipwrecked! On the Tempestuous Lost Island of Never is a very loose adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, complete with pirates, clowns, magic, and mischief.
Should you see it?
If you unleashed your inner six year old while retaining all the wit of your well-read adult self, this is the kind of show you’d get. Equal parts clown show and Shakespeare send-up, The Company of Fools once again impress with their family-friendly hijinx. This hilarious, exciting show offers something for everyone: adventure on a desert island, an unexpected romance, groan-inducing puns, plenty of literary references, a heartwarming story of friendship, balloons, and more!
The play begins on a cruise ship where a beloved, bumbling clown duo (Pomme and Restes) has recently been fired. This leaves their colleagues Prospero and Miranda, a father-daughter magic show, to fill the void. In saying goodbye, however, the clowns inadvertently invoke their friend’s magic and cause a shipwreck, which triggers the central conflicts of the show: how will they get home (or not) and how will Prospero get revenge on them for sending his daughter out into the ether?
Personally, I found Prospero’s Elizabethan manner of speech jarring and out of place but it certainly succeeded at putting him forward as a mysterious, powerful villain. While the trick behind his magic box is fairly obvious, the sleight of hand that brought his sidekick Ariel to life impressed me as did the menacing projection that closed Act I. Pierre Brault is excellently cast in this role.
As Pomme and Restes explore the island, they discover Prospero’s magic box and accidentally conjure Captain Hook and Anne of Green Gables who promptly fall for each other. Katie Ryerson’s imaginative yet prim and proper Anne is spot-on but she really shines as the heroine make-believing as a spunky, energetic Amazon Queen Anne. Jesse Buck’s Captain Hook meanwhile is most enjoyable as a pathetic, love-struck flirt.
It’s near impossible to choose a favorite out of this brilliant cast, but I have to admit that Margo MacDonald stole my heart as the innocent, gleeful Restes. The character is comic gold as far as I’m concerned and is perfectly balanced with the eloquently melancholy Pomme Frites played by the always-talented Scott Florence.
Everything in this show is well done, from the acting to the staging (complete with falling coconuts), to the set (with strategically used rocks and a beautiful backdrop), to the writing (including such lines as: “”Look at me, Pomme. I’m a robot ninja!”).
If you’re looking for a fun, festive outing for the whole family, this is a unique, memorable, feel-good show that promises to keep everyone in stitches or at least smiles for the full two hours. And if you’re a fan of cupcakes, you especially won’t be disappointed.
But that’s just my opinion and I’d love to know what you think. Are you in Team Pomme or Team ‘Restes? Was Captain Hook crush-worthy or should Anne of the Amazon stay an independent woman? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!