I've followed Colin's career since he played Vernon in Vernon God Little at the Young Vic, fresh out of drama school and long before he became the BBC's Saturday night wizard. Said role having taken up most of his time for the last five years, stage work has been a bit thin on the ground, hence breaking my vow.
So was it worth it? Well, I'm going to write separately about the whole Globe and 'first time as a groundling' experience so this is purely about the play. And the first thing to say is that although it is not without its flaws it's probably the most rounded Tempest I've seen - and I'm quite picky, as it is a favourite play.
For me it worked because Roger Allam's Prospero had the right mix of powerful deposed Duke and Dad and Miranda (Jessie Buckley) wasn't too childish or too worldly. In fact she had a nice dose of teenager about her which Prospero's played to. There was a certain amount of charm to their relationship that made it endearing. Throw into the mix a slightly awkward teen Ferdinand (Joshua James) and the young lovers became quite amusing rather than sickly or, as I've sometimes seen, unbelievable.
And then there was Colin's Ariel. There is so much you can do with Prospero's sprite and here a muscular Morgan had what looked like newly-forming feathers on his torso. From waist down he wore a stiff skirt which was open at the front, revealing Jacobean-esque pantaloons and finished off with Ugg-type boots. I'll admit I'm not quite sure what concept the costume designer was going for but add in the porcelain make up and it looked a bit sci-fi/alien.
Performance-wise his Ariel was like a child in an adult's body. Prospero chides him with exasperation rather than anger for forgetting, once again, how he had been freed. Morgan's muscles are put to good use with climbs up pieces of set and lots of hanging off stuff monkey-bar style. The harpie scene is a particularly imaginative use of costume and jumping stilt shoes (google it). Overall I'm not entirely sure Ariel the gymnast quite worked for me but it certainly added an energy.
Where Morgan was at his best was in his reactions, when he was causing chaos for Prospero or commanding the other spirits. His delivery sometimes felt a little recited but with seasoned Shakespeare actors like Allam on stage the bar is set very high.
The first couple of scenes with the stranded nobles are always difficult to pull off and with so much levity elsewhere in the play these did fall a little flat. However, all in all it was an enjoyable and entertaining production and ticked a lot of my Tempest boxes.
Production shot: Tristram Kenton