Jessie Knowles (Miranda), Matt Vickery (Stephan / Voice of Prospero), Kirsten Peacock (Trinxy), Kat Hardman and Marisa Martins (Ariel).
Following the success of "Fall to the Top" (a reworking of Shakespeare's "Scottish Play"), Entita Theatre enter that difficult second album stage with a prequel to the Bard's The Tempest. Set on a flight through a thunderstorm, it tells of how the characters came to be on Prospero's island. A sort of Shakes on a Plane?
Well, sort of, as this is given a modern twist and is a stand-alone sequel to the Tempest. Some of the familiar characters are passengers but they have plotted a different flight course and departed from blank verse.
The action takes place enclosed in a well devised skeletal set of curved fuselage spars. In the confines of the cabin things are not going smoothly. There is the unexpected turbulence for one thing and then there are the overlapping plots of scheming and betrayal. It's a modern tale of corporate greed, mismanagement and intrigue. Magic is replaced with science, with the unseen Prospero at the centre of a possible cover up of an accident involving the mysterious Sycorax Project.
Exposing elements of the plot are journalist Stephan and his tipsy partner Trinxy. The remaining flight time allows Antonio to plan a hostile takeover, aided by money from Alasdair, an unscrupulous business angel also on the flight. All it will take is the help of his bored and neglected young wife, Samantha and it's happy landings. But where is all this turbulence coming from?
The story is told from a number of angles, quite literally as the cast lift chairs, scenery and even each other overhead in slow-mo action as the turbulence shakes things up. Some of this is inventive, such as the use of hand-held lights and tapping to simulate rain, but physical theatre is not just moving furniture and they need to be more creative.
At the heart of The Tempest is that we need to see stage magic. The aircraft framework is well thought out and is effective both as background and in containing the plot. The acting is of a fairly high standard, but some of the performances are better than others - the scene where Samantha is coerced into the plot against her husband being the one that shines. The modern look and soundtrack are on course but the narrative needs to be clearer and have a more definite destination.
Entita are clearly aiming high in devising their own brand of theatre with high production values. Turbulence gives the impression that it is a little hampered by drawing in the Shakespearean plot, some of which feels like additional baggage.
Perhaps its time for them to move away from adaptations and take off with something of their own.
Show Times: 12 to 24 (not 17-18) August 2013, 6.40 pm.
Ticket Price: £5