The Tempest at St Paul’s Church
Iris Theatre puts on a wonderful night of garden entertainment at St Paul’s Church. Their latest production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest is really quite lovely.
The play sees the King of Naples and his entourage encounter a tremendous storm and become marooned on a distant island where Prospero – a former duke – and his daughter have been living since they were chased out of Naples. Prospero uses a magical sprite named Ariel to enact his plan to have his dukedom restored.
As a promenade performance, the production moves across a number of sets around the grounds of St Paul’s Church. The transitions aren’t exactly seamless but the magic of a stroll through St. Paul’s gardens quite makes up for it. And the play itself is well suited for this as it feels as though one is also exploring the island as the characters do. In fact, walking around the gardens really does bring the story to life in a way that a traditionally staged production would be unable to do.
And it is not in the least bit let down by the cast. From the power of Jamie Newall (Prospero) to the mischievous elegance of Charlotte Christensen (Ariel), this drama is performed wonderfully.
But it is Paul Brendan as Trinculo, the fool, and Reginald Edwards as Stephano, the drunk, who are most brilliant. Through the quick wit of the Bard’s words, these two provide countless moments of raucous laughter throughout their journey on the island.
As if the gardens weren’t enchanting enough, they are filled with the most charming music throughout the production. Christensen plays her flute and sings sweetly as Ariel, luring the visitors around the setting.
This is a truly lovely way to experience Shakespeare. It’s a rather good production of The Tempest in its own right, but the gardens make this staging all the more vivid and engaging.
Photo: Nick Rutter
The Tempest is at St Paul’s Church from 20th June until 28th July 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.