How do you stage The Tempest with just four actors and the sort of minimal setting which can accommodate itself to assorted school halls as well as more conventional theatre spaces? James Williams has attempted this with his pared-down production, adding in a visible stage manager to assist with costume changes, sound effects and everything else which is required at any time. The designer is Michaela Kemp.

The premise is that these players have themselves been ship-wrecked with only a tattered copy of Shakespeare's last great play for entertainment. Being actors, they set about staging it. Two men and two women take all the roles, dodging from behind a torn sail, up and down a sand dune to give the story of the deposed duke, his daughter, the supernatural beings who inhabit the island with Prospero and Miranda and the Milanese court which also finds itself marooned there.

Not every actor at the performance I saw had the measure of the language, let alone the verse. Asha Reid as Miranda, wine-sodden Stephano and the old wise Gonzalo and Becky Barry as Ariel and the not-always funny Trinculo presented the most believable portraits. There's an interesting doubling of the story's nominal young hero Ferdinand with the monster Caliban (these days nearly always played as more sympathetic and abused than in some earlier productions) by Matthew Jewson.

Liam Gerrard is both the deposed Prospero and the usurping Antonio, another interesting character parallel. His Prospero, perhaps understandably, lacked the full measure of the philosopher-duke's gravitas but her seems more comfortable with the amoral greed of Antonio, softened only by the genuineness of his grief at the supposed loss of his son. This isle is, as emphasised in the text, full of music. Zara Nunn's score has the right slightly eerie quality.


liam="" gerrard="" is="" both="" the="" deposed="" prospero="" and="" usurping="" antonio,="" another="" interesting="" character="" parallel.="" his="" prospero,="" perhaps="" understandably,="" lacked="" full="" measure="" of="" philosopher-duke's="" gravitas="" but="" her="" seems="" more="" comfortable="" with="" amoral="" greed="" softened="" only="" by="" genuineness="" grief="" at="" supposed="" loss="" son.="" this="" isle="" is,="" as="" emphasised="" in="" text,="" music.="" zara="" nunn's="" score="" has="" right="" slightly="" eerie="" quality.=""