"Clear, punchy and abbreviated, Mick Gordon's 90-minute version of The Tempest, designed to be played outdoors, may not be a substantial evening, but it's a real little charmer. A large, beaten-metal cone provides the only nod towards scenery and instead Gordon relies on a magic circle of flaming torches and the natural beauty of the surroundings. A cut above most summer chardonnay-and-Shakespeare picnic experiences, this has its own rough magic, particularly in the second half, in which the betrothal of Miranda and Ferdinand and the traditional masque becomes a delicious hoedown featuring yards and yards of pink silk.
Other crowd-pleasing touches include an entertaining double act, Trinculo and Stephano, who turn up in flippers, snorkels and dinner jackets, and a fire-eating Ariel, whose haunting Full Fathom Five is delivered in eerie fashion via an old-fashioned megaphone. Nick Lloyd Webber (definitely a relation: son) keeps the magic quotient high with his original score."
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