It starts with a shipwreck. The Creation Cruise from Milan to Naples is going down and, as actors slalom around the tables where the audience members are seated, we are told we have to abandon ship.
The Tempest, directed by Zoe Seaton, is Creation Theatre’s third ‘immersive theatre game’ production. The audience is directed to encounter characters in various locations on an industrial estate and the meadow surrounding it. We find Caliban skulking on the river bank, rescue Ferdinand from the boot of a car, and join Miranda’s hen party in a coffee roastery.
Groups are given ‘missions’ to complete before being allowed to progress to the next scene. It is silly and fun, although Shakespeare purists may grumble at the liberties taken with the text, which is savagely cut and spliced with improvisation.
Keith Singleton as Trinculo is particularly skilled in charming audience members into participating. Annabelle Terry’s Miranda is refreshingly voracious in expressing her desire for Ferdinand.
The attention to detail in Ryan Dawson Laight’s designs for the cruise ship and Prospero’s hut immerses the audience in the play’s world.
Perhaps because Shakespeare’s plot did not seem exciting enough on its own, Seaton adds a confusing subplot about a war between spirits and zombies on the island. This results in a grim and seemingly pointless detour through a wholesale meat warehouse.
Nonetheless, the return to the cruise ship setting for the final scene – magically transformed in the intervening time into a wedding venue – satisfyingly brings the loose strands together.