The Tempest

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

Shakespeare may not always be the easiest to follow, but my overriding memory of this Theatre Royal production is how light and amusing it was at times.

Gracy Goldman exquisitely played the role of Ariel, the airy spirit. Not only was it terrific to watch her nipping on and off stage through the apparent stone wall, but she also looked as though she enjoyed every minute of it.

Leading the cast as Prospero was Jonathan Newth who depicted quite vividly the anguish and anger but ultimately the forgiveness of a man deeply wronged. Abby Leamon played his daughter, Miranda, whose amusing and rapid appetite for men (not always Ferdinand) caused quite a chuckle with the audience.

One of the most challenging roles was that of Caliban, to which Simon Startin gave his all. Although an intense character as the chained slave, his drunken escapades with Stephano (John Tearney) and Trinculo (Jonathan Ashley) proved extremely comical. This provided a stark contrast with the plotting going on elsewhere in the play.

The sloping set was intriguing and included a mock stone wall (with period graffiti perhaps!) that allowed Ariel to use her extensive magical and often mischievous powers to appear and disappear through it.

This production made this often complex play easy to follow, without losing its integrity and deep passion.

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t Runs until September 18, then touring the UK.

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