The Tempest at the Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans

OVO's production of The Tempest at Maltings Arts Theatre

OVO's production of The Tempest at Maltings Arts Theatre - Credit: Archant

Expect to be enchanted at the Maltings Arts Theatre over the next two weeks. The summer season’s flagship production, The Tempest, starts tonight (Thursday) and is set to be a magical experience for audiences. Resident company OVO has a long and successful heritage with Shakespeare and The Tempest is their 14th production of our most famous playwright’s work.

Imbued with a spirit of the supernatural, The Tempest is Shakespeare’s late great masterpiece of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment. It’s a drama about transformation. The presumed dead are restored to life; wicked individuals change for the better and, in the end, magic willingly gives over to the natural order of things.

Director Alison Wright decided to replace the usual island setting with a dark cell, where Prospero and his daughter Miranda have been exiled for 12 years.

She explained: “I wanted to create a sense of their imprisonment that would really work in the space of the Maltings Theatre, so I’ve gone for something a bit different. The exiles — and the slave Caliban and spirit Ariel — are incarcerated instead in what could be the Tower of London, in the 16th Century.”

Alison added: “It is thought that The Tempest was Shakespeare’s last play as sole author, the maturity in the beautiful language shines through but there’s still a good dollop of bawdy humour!”

Alison is convinced that the new setting is revealing some interesting aspects of the play and this darker, more compressed version of The Tempest promises to be an intimate and thoughtful production.

The Tempest plays from June 19-21 and then June 25-28 at the Maltings Arts Theatre. The production starts at 8pm and tickets (£10/£7.50) are available online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo or by calling the box office on 0333 666 3366.