Review: Intergalactic storm makes for open-air Shakespeare success in St Albans

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Bruce Akhurst

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

A raging intergalactic storm wreaked amusing Shakespearean havoc when it arrived in St Albans.

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Caliban, played by Dar

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Caliban, played by Darya Berger. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest came to Verulamium Park's Inn On The Park at the weekend, to an audience enjoying uncharacteristically balmy weather.

This is the sixth annual summer Shakespeare production presented by the am-dram group, but this year the show had a twist.

It was all set in space - complete with lightsabers, Star Trek uniforms, and astronomical references.

Director Lesley Cowland said: "When it was written, the world was still a relatively unknown place, so being marooned on a desert island inhabited by strange creatures was believable and exciting.

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Roy Bookham as Stephano

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Roy Bookham as Stephano. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant


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"Exploration was very much part of Elizabethan history and this is reflected in the tale.

"In the 21st century there are very few places on earth that are unknown or unexplored and my thoughts were how to set this play somewhere a modern-day audience would find believable, but where reality could be suspended."

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Lesley also switched usurped Duke Prospero to a female part, which was played by Kathryn Hearn.

With the largest proportion of lines, Kathryn commanded the stage throughout the play and led the audience in understanding what is a complicated plot.

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Kathryn Hearn as Prospe

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Kathryn Hearn as Prospero and Abigail Giles as Ariel. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Other highlights included Prospero's scheming slave Caliban, played by Darya Berger, who successfully and convincingly transformed herself into a twisted "monster" for the duration.

Caliban's drunken coconspirators, John Kensett as Trinculo and Roy Bookham as Stephano, were a welcome light-hearted addition to the production - bouncing off each other with ease and obvious chemistry.

Abigail Giles' spirt Ariel was full of energetic life, as an otherworldly fairy should be, and romantic leads, Maude Collins-Pallet as Miranda alongside Stephen Deaville as Ferdinand, bridged an age gap to deliver an authentic puppy love performance.

Additionally, all proceeds from programme sales went towards St Albans charity Youth Talk.

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Maude Collins-Pallet as

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Maude Collins-Pallet as Miranda alongside Stephen Deaville as Ferdinand. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

All in all, a relaxing and entertaining way to spend a summer's evening.

The show returns to Verulamium Park for June 27 to 29, from 7.30pm. Visit breakawaytheatre.com for tickets.

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans was at the Inn on the Pa

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans was at the Inn on the Park. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Ellie Holliday as Boswa

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Ellie Holliday as Boswain and Jo Micallef as Master. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. King Prospero as a woma

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. King Prospero as a woman, played by Kathryn Hearn, with Maude Collins-Pallet as Miranda. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Stephen Deaville as Fer

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Stephen Deaville as Ferdinand. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Darya Berger as Caliban

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Darya Berger as Caliban. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Jill Hardman as Antonio

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Jill Hardman as Antonio, Alonso's brother, and Danny Smith as Antonio, Prospero's brother. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. John Kensett as Trincul

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. John Kensett as Trinculo. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Graeme Shaw as Alonso,

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Graeme Shaw as Alonso, King of Naples. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. John Kensett as Trincul

Breakaway Theatre Company's open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. John Kensett as Trinculo. Picture: Bruce Akhurst - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company'’s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth

Breakaway Theatre Company’'s open-air production of The Tempest in St Albans. Picture: Susie Wyeth - Credit: Archant

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