Unique take on the bard in gardens

Prospero broods in The Pantaloons' The Tempest
Prospero broods in The Pantaloons' The Tempest

Theatre

The Pantaloons make their second visit of the summer to the Botanical Gardens with their inimitable vision of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

This unique take on one of Shakespeare’s most fantastical plays frames the action within the setting of an old-fashioned travelling magic show and uses music, movement, poetry and puppetry to create Prospero’s world of illusions.

“Shakespeare suggests that theatre itself is a kind of conjuring,” says director Stephen Purcell, “summoning up whole imaginary worlds from just the shared creative efforts of actors and audience. So in our production, the cast create all the magical effects live onstage - sometimes with the help of the audience!”

The Tempest is also a play about other kinds of transformation: from tears to laughter, from cruelty to forgiveness, from enslavement to freedom.

Shakespeare wrote the play right at the end of his career, when he’d moved beyond writing straightforward comedies or tragedies and blended both genres into a new form.

“The play changes tone very suddenly throughout,” says Purcell, “and we hope our production reflects that. Ultimately, it’s a play about the power, potential, and sheer joy of the human imagination, and that’s what The Pantaloons are all about!”

The Pantaloons began life ten years ago busking plays for donations in parks and on the streets, where they developed an attention-grabbing, interactive and playful performance style. Described as as post-modern folk theatre, they take well-loved tales and giving them a contemporary twist.

The production is on Tuesday at 7pm. Tickets at www.thepantaloons.co.uk or by phone on 2496000