'The Tempest' blows up a storm at the Theatre Royal

(Showing between the 28th October and Saturday 2nd November) Picture of the Tempest promotional face shot

Audiences at Bath's Theatre Royal were treated to a magnificent production of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' recently. Leading cast members included; Richard Briers [Prospero], Madeline Worrall [Miranda], Orlando Wells [Ferdinand], Rory Kinnear [Caliban] and Ben Silverstone [Ariel/Iris]. The play was directed by Patrick Mason.

The plot of The Tempest, for those unfamiliar with the play, was described quite succinctly by Richard Briers; "It is the story of an old man and his fascist brother, who sends him and his daughter to an island, with a monster and a fairy".

During the post-show discussion, the Director explained the ideas behind his portrayal of this classic. The four 'realities'/worlds within the play; Political, Comic, Magical and Romantic interact using the same set. The emphasis was not on the unity of these worlds, rather the contrast between them. The costumes used were spectacular, and continued as an extension of the a la mode set.

The set was magnificent, a contemporary polish on a well-covered play; minimalism was used to encourage the viewer to use his or her imagination. A blanket of pinprick white lights over the floor and walls gave a magical feel, and were used in variety of ways for the different scenes. The set was static with a higher level to add a degree of abstraction to the play. Unfortunately the higher level of the set was only partially visible from some seats in the theatre.

The highlight was a powerful performance from Richard Briers (which was to be expected from such an accomplished thespian). Sadly Richard has said that 'Prospero' will be his last great Shakespearean role. It was obvious that all the actors put immense effort into their representation of the characters; there was an incredible depth of emotion shown by Madeline Worrall [Miranda]. However, the standard of acting all through the play was very high, with each part immaculately observed yet targeted at the modern theatre-goer.