**** AUGUSTINE'S (VENUE 152)
THIS is one of the most beautifully conveyed and imaginatively realised versions of Shakespeare's fantastical play The Tempest that I have seen in a long while. While the story of a father and daughter stranded on a magical island can be difficult to relate to due to its other-worldly setting, here everything is conveyed with such a joyous love of colour and razzmatazz that you can't fail to find it eye-opening.
As the stage is filled with flowing waves of fabric, the performers move within them to create the iconic brewing storm; an ever-present element in the story and a backdrop for conflicts of a more emotional kind. It's a testament to how strikingly it all is that it may take you a few minutes to even notice that the piece is performed by actors with learning disabilities – members of the Side By Side Theatre Company
This is by no means a traditional version of the play with the all the formality that often comes from more literal adaptations but it is done with such freshness and clarity that it's a joy to watch.
Primarily, the piece revolves around physical movement and dance, but also some very funny dialogue which has been improvised by the actors.
Theresa Byrne gives an excellent performance as Ariel. The relationship between Prospero and his daughter Miranda is touchingly conveyed by the engaging Mark Slater and Sarah Field, while other members of the cast inject their characters with originality and individual appeal.
Director and choreographer Susan Wallin is clearly an exceptionally gifted theatre visionary and uses the actors' ideas and choreography to create a uniquely inspiring celebration of their humour, passion and talent.
• Until today, 11:45am.