The Tempest

Many strange things occur in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, but in this production, by Oxford’s Creation Theatre, there are more surprises than even Prospero might have conjured up. It is performed in a location on the outskirts of Oxford, revealed only to ticket holders, in what the company describes as ‘their immersive theatre game style.’

An ingenious and entertaining evening.

Hence the note, ‘You’re shipwrecked. Watch. Listen. Trust no one. Survive.’

Seated at tables in groups of around ten, there is a chance to chat to fellow team members before the cast enters and the storm rages. Then, it’s off with the first set of instructions to a series of locations where the hacked script will be performed.

Given that many of the events in The Tempest occur contemporaneously their running order is not of any great significance, setting aside the opening shipwreck and the conclusion. Indeed, that concept is enhanced in this construction of the play.

Prospero and Miranda are at his cell, divided bands of passengers roam around different parts of the island unbeknown to the others, Ariel flits hither and thither causing mischief and Caliban is likely to crawl out of some stream or pit any time. What is lost is the serenity of sitting in a theatre enjoying seamless continuity, but that’s not what immersive, promenade events are about. After a couple of kilometres tripping around, under and through vastly differing settings on what was a glorious summer’s evening, it was time to return to base for the liberations, libations and spectacular wedding and masque.

Adaptor and Director Zoe Seaton has put together an ingenious and entertaining evening with a highly competent cast, who rise to the challenge of combining Shakesperian rendition with in-character chat and handing out instructions for progressing around the circuit. This island has phones, cars and computers to facilitate progression. Inevitably some scenes stand out more than others. In a tight space, where every twitch was visible, Annabelle Terry (Miranda) and Al Barclay (Alonso) gave a delightfully endearing portrayal of love at first sight, making the wedding even more enjoyable because we were standing next to them when they first met. Later, on a narrow bridge above a stream, PK Taylor meticulously unpicked Caliban’s, ‘The isle is full of noises..’ to imbue it with poignant clarity of meaning. His physical agility, cowering and fear in the presence of humans came to the fore moments later with the amusing arrival of Keith Singleton (Trinculo), whose sonorous Irish words humorously taunted Caliban into a drunken stupor. Matching the latter's contortions and nimbleness Itxaso Moreno (Ariel) twisted and turned her way around sets while floating through the charming poetry while Simon Spencer-Hyde (Prospero) remained firmly in control.

This production demands precise collaboration between areas of responsibility and is clearly the result of a remarkable team effort on the part of Ryan Dawson Laight (Designer), Matt Eaton (Sound Designer), Ashley Bale (Lighting Designer), Stuart Read (Video Designer), Sinead Owens (Stage Manager) and Giles Stoakley (Production Manager). The remaining cast members, Ryan Duncan (Ferdinand), Madeleine MacMahon (Sebastian), Chris Robinson (Antonio), Giles Stoakley (The Captain) and Andy Owens (Head of Security - a new character!), also brought creativity and eccentricity to their roles that further enlivened the evening.

A team of interns, Simon Castle, Michael Deacon, Charlie Longman and William Van Walwyk assisted as waiters and general hands on deck to facilitate the event’s smooth running.

Lucy Askew, Creation Theatre’s Chief Executive, observes that ‘the aim of this immersive and interactive show is for everyone to feel really engaged with the story’. That was certainly achieved. Alas, ‘our revels now are ended’.

Reviews by Richard Beck

Brockley Jack Theatre

every seven years

★★★
Arcola Theatre

The Game of Love and Chance

★★★
Lion & Unicorn

Two Worlds No Family

★★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Mr and Mrs Nobody

★★★★
The Space

Helium

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Exile

★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

You’re Shipwrecked. Watch. Listen. Trust no one. Survive.

This summer we’ll be bringing back the hugely popular format of our sell-out summer 2016 & 2017 productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In small groups the audience will convene in a secret location and discover the scenes and characters of The Tempest in the last places you’d expect to find them.

Could Ariel be bobbing by on that boat, is Prospero serving us in this coffee shop? This immersive and interactive way of storytelling brings classic texts to life in true Creation style.

Most Popular See More

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Prince of Egypt

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Constellations

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets