I was definitely a bit nervous going in to see The Tempest, as I somehow managed to avoid studying it at all at school so had no idea what to expect. However, the Donmar’s amazing Young + Free programme meant that I managed to get tickets to see it for free at the intimate Kings Cross Theatre.
If, like me, you’ve managed to avoid this play it’s the story of Prospero (Harriet Walter), a one-time gentleman who was banished from his Dukedom by deciet and is now made a home on an island. With his spirit Ariel (Jade Anuka), Prospero creates a tempest which forces his former friends to become ship-wrecked on the island. Chaos and romance ensues.
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd (of Mamma Mia fame), The Tempest has a framing device of being set in a women’s prison which is really effectively used within the plot of the play. There is also not a dud actor in the cast. From the adorable couple of Miranda (Leah Harvey) and Ferdinand (Sheila Atim), to the surprisingly successful comedy duo of Stephano (Jackie Clune) and Trinculo (Karen Dunbar) and the excellent Anuka as Ariel, this was a cast that really got the material and could translate it wonderfully.
I spent the two hours of the play with a pretty big smile on my face, which was tempered only once by a really excellent use of the framing device towards the end of the play, and would really recommend you see it.