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.