facebook play-alt chevron-thin-right chevron-thin-left cancel location info chevron-thin-down star-full help-with-circle calendar images mail whatsapp directions_car directions_bike train directions_walk directions_bus close spinner11
Are you missing theatre as much as we are? Support us now with Theatre Tokens and see your favourite shows when they reopen.

The Tempest at the Arts theatre

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 30 May 2018

Six ropes hang from the rig to the bare stage, which, along with a little imagination, is all that is used throughout this production to conjure the various scenes in Tara Arts’s production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Caroline Bishop was at the Arts theatre for the first night…

The ropes in Claudia Mayer’s minimalist design are used to depict the shipwreck that opens Shakespeare’s fable, the forests and terrain on the island where Prospero and daughter Miranda have been forced to make home, and the sense of power that the exiled Duke uses over his daughter, his slave Caliban and the spirit Ariel. The design – which also features projections, sporadically flashed onto boards on three sides of the stage – along with Middle Eastern-inspired music and eerie sounds of waves crashing, wind howling and wailing voices, gives the production a dark, mysterious feel, appropriate to this tale of spirits, magic and brooding revenge.

Director Jatinder Verma has cut the play slightly and doubled up actors, so that Robert Mountford, as well as playing the intelligent, learned Prospero, also plays the foolish Trinculo; Jessica Manley wears a burkha to play Miranda, whose life is controlled by her father, but also plays Alonzo, the all-powerful King of Naples, whose son Ferdinand falls for Miranda. It is an interesting concept and the actors are adept at making the distinction between characters clear, albeit with a little help from costumes. Mountford imbues Prospero with a sense of power and bitterness, as he plots to take revenge on the King and his brother Antonio who deposed him, but is also able to give his Trinculo a bumbling, comedic touch as he wanders round the island where they are all shipwrecked.

Of the other characters, Caroline Kilpatrick’s Ariel is a whining spirit who seems close to madness, so desperate is she to free herself from Prospero’s power. Keith Thorne’s Caliban has writhing strength and touching innocence, as he both rails against Prospero and depends on him. Starting his lines in Swahili emphasises Caliban’s difference to Prospero and the shipwrecked foreigners who are immigrants in Caliban’s native land.

A fable of revenge, and ultimately forgiveness, Tara’s production of The Tempest switches from eeriness to happiness as Prospero decides to have mercy on his brother and the King, and allows the touching love that Miranda and Ferdinand find for each other.

The Tempest plays at the Arts theatre until 27 January.



Sign up

Related articles

If you click through to seat selection (where you'll see either best available or a seating plan), you will be seeing the most up-to-date prices. If this differs from what we've written on the calendar, please bear with us, as those prices will update soon.

We now sell our famous TKTS Booth discounts online here at Official London Theatre.

We are now cancelling all performances up until and including 31 May 2020 to help us process existing bookings whilst we wait for further clarity from the government in terms of when we will be able to reopen.

We are so sorry that in these testing and difficult times you are not able to enjoy the show you have booked for and hope the following helps clarify next steps in respect of your tickets .

There is nothing that you need to do if your performance has been cancelled, but we do ask for your patience.

If you have booked directly with the theatre or show website for an affected performance, please be assured that they will contact you directly to arrange an exchange for a later date, a credit note/voucher or a refund. If you have booked via a ticket agent they will also be in contact with you directly.

We are processing in strict date order of performance, so you are likely to be contacted after the date you were due to go to the theatre. However, we want to reassure you that you will be contacted, and your order will be processed, but please do bear with us.

We’d like to thank everyone who has been patient and kind in dealing with their ticket providers so far and we are sorry that we cannot process your order as quickly as we would like.

Please do not contact your credit card company as that will slow the process down and put an additional burden on our box office and ticket agent teams.

In order for us to serve our audiences the best we can, please do not get in touch with your point of sale if you have booked for performances after 31 May. Please be reassured that if we have to cancel future performances you will be directly contacted by your theatre or ticket provider. Our producers continue to plan for all eventualities dependent on the individual needs of their shows and we will provide further updates on specific shows as and when they become available.

We look forward to welcoming you back into our theatres as soon as we are allowed to resume performances. In the meantime stay safe and healthy.

While theatres are currently closed, various venues and productions are making announcements for their individual shows, including cancellations and rescheduled performances. Please check with the individual shows for details.