The Tempest at Barbican Theatre tickets
The Tempest at Barbican Theatre tickets

The Tempest has closed

This show has closed

Overview

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s incredible new version of the Shakespeare classic The Tempest transfers to the Barbican for a limited London run during summer 2017.

Simon Russell Beale stars in the lead role of Prospero. Beale has been described as “the greatest stage actor of his generation”, known for his wide range of work in TV, film and theatre. Notable stage roles have included Samuel Foote in Mr Foote’s Other Leg at the Hampstead Theatre in 2015, as well as the title role in Uncle Vanya at the Donmar Warehouse in 2003.

This new production of The Tempest is by the RSC’s Artistic Director, Gregory Doran. Doran has been Artistic Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company since September 2012, in which time he has directed a huge range of ground-breaking productions, including Shakespeare Live! the unique collaboration with the BBC that celebrate 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.

The play tells the story of a man, robbed of his power, wealth and status, abandoned on a far away island by his enemies and simply left to wait. He is not a normal man though and this is certainly no normal island. Prospero is a magician, who has the skill to change and shape the very elements and change nature to his will.

As a ship appears in the distance, he conjures the violent tempest that wreaks havoc on the ship carrying his enemies and washes them up upon the shore. As the men come to, they find that they are on breathtaking island, where nothing is as it seems.

As part of this ground-breaking play, the Royal Shakespeare Company have partnered with Intel, to utilise some of the most advanced technology available today in reimagining the Shakespeare classic and making it a truly unforgettable theatre experience.

The Tempest starring Simon Russell Beale opened at the Barbican Theatre on 30th June 2017, for a strictly limited run until 18th August 2017 and is not to be missed.

Recommended for

Perfect for any theatre fans who want to experience the brilliance of Shakespeare but are put off by the more traditional performances. This is theatre at its most technically ground-breaking and is the perfect introduction for teenage audiences to the Bard’s work.

Age Recommendations: May not be suitable for very young children

Dates and times

Running time: 2 hours 23 mins + 20 mins interval
Opened: 10 Jul 2017
Press night: 30 Jun 2017
Booking from: 17 Aug 2017
Booking until: 18 Aug 2017

Location and map

Barbican Theatre
Silk Street
London, EC2Y 8DS

30 Reviews Add review

Amazing technology makes THE TEMPEST universally understandable. Although THE TEMPEST at the Barbican Theatre starring Simon Ru... More

CatherineLW98 5ft 11....yes I'm tall, 14 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Amazing technology makes THE TEMPEST universally understandable. Although THE TEMPEST at the Barbican Theatre starring Simon Russell Beale closed last month, it's important to recognise its technological innovation. Jon: This unique version of ‘The Tempest’ was commissioned for the150th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and was first staged last year in Stratford before transferring to the Barbican Theatre this summer for a second run. Being a techie, I knew from the outset that this show was going to be very interesting to watch, as its special feature is projection and video mapping of ‘Ariel’. Cat: As an ex-English Literature student, who dropped the A-Level whilst studying Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I came to the performance with a fair amount of scepticism. During the brief period I studied the play I found it difficult to grasp the plot and follow the story. It would be fair to attribute this to the Shakespearean English. Nevertheless, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! From the moment I walked into the main auditorium it was hard to miss the staging. The Tempest, as many may know, has only two main scenes, one a ship and the other a remote island. In order to accommodate for both scenes the set was relatively simple, using wooden structures on either side of the stage – which were incredibly effective! The use of Intel technology enabled the structures to become a ship in crisis but also to bring life to the magical happenings of Prospero's island, including his trusted slave ‘Ariel’. A link to a video below give some indication as to the magnificence of the effects. Jon: The projection was stunning. It was designed by Finn Ross, who was also the designer of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and I definitely felt that there was few elements where you can see this unique style of shock and unease on the audience come through. For example, right as the show opened, the storm scene truly made me jump in my seat, but also uncomfortable is the moment when ‘Ariel’ is up high and is starting to grow angry. The projection was a joint venture between the RSC and Intel to use live video mapping of ‘Ariel’, which was then onto the set. This is something that has never been tried before in theatre and it was very clever. It allowed you to feel like Ariel was superhuman, growing in size and floating. Saying this though, I did feel that the tech was just been used because it was there, rather than to adding to the overall impact of the production. Sitting slightly off-centre, some of the effects were lost due to the angle of my seat. The set, even though it was so simple, it was used effectively for its levels and how the actors interacted with it. Cat: The other most prominent part of the show was costume which aided characterisation. My brief study meant that I had acquired a somewhat basic understanding of the story, however the costumes and acting enabled me to become immersed in the story and actually enjoy this classic as it should be, rather than battling with the written word. The relationship between ‘Prospero’ and his daughter ‘Miranda’ was strong and heartfelt, an element I lost in the book, whilst I couldn’t help but chuckle at the infatuated ‘Ferdinand’ as he forged an instant romance with ‘Miranda’, despite meeting mere moments earlier. By far the best costume and embodiment of character came from the two unearthly creatures of the play, ‘Ariel’ and ‘Caliban’. Both characters stood out from the cast with Mark Quartley (‘Ariel’) moving nimbly across the stage, which made the special effects of him flying weightlessly and his bizarre costume look… normal. In the same way, Joe Dixon, who played ‘Caliban’, a hideous monster and son of the witch ‘Sycorax’, fully embodied his character. His costume resembled that of a villain from Doctor Who and it would have been easy to just make the character purely comical, however his acting, from his voice work to the animalistic way in which he walked, gave the complex character justice. Jon: Overall I surprisingly liked the plot, and even laughed. I also enjoyed dissecting the tech, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it can go in the future. The production still has not converting me to a Shakespeare fan, but I have new appreciation for this production and will continue to go and see new adaptions like this of his work. Cat: As someone who also has always struggled with Shakespeare, I have nothing but praise for the cast and crew of this interpretation of the classic. It’s a mean feat to bring to life a play as magical as The Tempest, and to make it universally understandable (to even the most clueless of audiences) and I have to say this was accomplished. I would urge anyone to see a Shakespeare play featuring such amazing technology – it truly enhances the performance. It's a mean feat to bring to life a play as magical as THE TEMPEST, and to make it universally understandable... and I have to say this was accomplished. https://playhouse.press/reviews/2017/the-tempest-we2017

CatherineLW98 5ft 11....yes I'm tall, 14 reviews, 0 helpful votes

I had stumbled upon an Intel advert for this production by chance on Facebook. Intel had come together with the Royal Shakespeare ... More

katierose 5"7, 67 reviews, 2 helpful votes

I had stumbled upon an Intel advert for this production by chance on Facebook. Intel had come together with the Royal Shakespeare Company to create a brand new production and take of one of William Shakespeare’s famous plays. Incorporating technology and the arts in a fantastic, spell binding way that led to being my favourite William Shakespeare performance I have ever seen! But one thing for sure about this production is how it is told. Collaborating with Hardware Company Intel, and The Imaginarium Studios, this production is brought to life through the power of technology. Similar to films such as Avatar, King Kong, and Planet of the Apes, the Royal Shakespeare Company is the first to bring ‘live motion capture’ to live theatre. This is mainly displayed through the character of Ariel, whose costume is that of body suit with sensors that enable all his movements to be projected in real-time. Portrayed around the set which displayed the skeleton of a shipwrecked boat, at times the projections were performed alongside Ariel when on the same, which at times worked well. However one scene where he was stage left on the wreckage with a helmet with a light shining onto his face to help portray his face onto the Avatar on the stage, it just felt out of place and this time it would have been better if he had done this off screen. But that’s not to say it wasn’t good, as watching Ariel was mesmerizing throughout, which brilliant body movement, and physicality. One thing I also noticed, that although the role of Ariel was performed by a male actor, on the screen the avatar displayed that of woman physicality. This is an ongoing theme with the character, it is one that can be portrayed by both female and male actors, stating that Ariel is genderless and I loved it. With that being said, it was great to see something brand new on stage alongside an amazing company.

katierose 5"7, 67 reviews, 2 helpful votes

Now, this was the Royal Shakespeare Company, so you might have the idea that it would be rather po-faced. And to be honest, I neve... More

u2fancat 5'6'', 37 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Now, this was the Royal Shakespeare Company, so you might have the idea that it would be rather po-faced. And to be honest, I never really liked this play, and was dubious about going that night. Wow, was I wrong! This is a spectacular production... from the start, where the tempest of the title terrifies the sailors, and we're right there with them. A film playing on a screen at the back, showing lightning, then waves that seem to flood the ship, combines with lighting that swings up and down, most effectively conveying the ship's swaying through the storm. (Warning: contains flashing lights.) Far from dreading the magical sequences of the rest of the play, as I've always done before, I was eagerly anticipating them tonight. The lead character, Prospero (Simon Russell-Beale, who plays a blinder) is a magician, and the play hinges on his moods. When he's angry, the stage turns a deep red... quite terrifyingly. And when he conjures demons, they're cleverly displayed. But when he's in a good mood.. why, everything is sweetness and light - the stage is bathed in green, or gold, or maybe flowers: the sprites and dryads sing quite beautifully. Speaking of sprites, the main one - Ariel - starts out as a hologram! And there's quite a beautiful display of shipwrecked sailors sinking to the bottom of the ocean. It's absolutely enchanting, and I can't recommend it highly enough! Visually stunning - excellently acted, of course. Gasping from the audience was well deserved. I see a lot of things, but this was one of the best I ever have.

u2fancat 5'6'', 37 reviews, 0 helpful votes

An excellent production which I would highly recommend. Simon Russell Beale and Mark Quartley were brilliant in their roles. There... More

kimr 160 cm, 8 reviews, 0 helpful votes

An excellent production which I would highly recommend. Simon Russell Beale and Mark Quartley were brilliant in their roles. There has been much talk about the new technology being used in this production but I'm not convinced that it isn't a case of change for change's sake. The technology was successful but I found myself watching Ariel's movements and comparing them to the Avatar's movements when I should have been concentrating on the actor who was centre stage. I certainly wouldn't have realised that the avatar wasn't a pre recorded sequence if not for the pre show publicity.

kimr 160 cm, 8 reviews, 0 helpful votes

This production of ‘The Tempest’ was very good albeit I think my friends enjoyed it more then me. Visually, it was very diffe... More

joc78 5"4, 226 reviews, 3 helpful votes

This production of ‘The Tempest’ was very good albeit I think my friends enjoyed it more then me. Visually, it was very different to anything I’d seen before. The character of Aerial for example was denoted as a hologram for example and the play featured opera towards the end, which is something I didn’t expect. Simon Russell Beale was his usual excellent self as ‘Prospero’. Is he never bad in a Shakespeare play?? I did somehow feel that I was almost too close to the stage to appreciate the visuals and feel that I should have been sat further back to fully appreciate the spectacle from an aerial view (no pun intended). Worth seeing for SRB’s amazing acting!

joc78 5"4, 226 reviews, 3 helpful votes

This production of ‘The Tempest’ was very good albeit I think my friends enjoyed it more then me. Visually, it was very different... More

joc78 5"4, 226 reviews, 3 helpful votes

This production of ‘The Tempest’ was very good albeit I think my friends enjoyed it more then me. Visually, it was very different to anything I’d seen before. The character of Aerial for example was denoted as a hologram for example and the play featured opera towards the end, which is something I didn’t expect. Simon Russell Beale was his usual excellent self as ‘Prospero’. Is he never bad in a Shakespeare play?? I did somehow feel that I was almost too close to the stage to appreciate the visuals and feel that I should have been sat further back to fully appreciate the spectacle from an aerial view (no pun intended). Worth seeing for SRB’s amazing acting!

joc78 5"4, 226 reviews, 3 helpful votes

The Tempest was an amazing visual experience - traditional Shakespeare in every sense (great performances by all involved) - excep... More

lisawiedemann 172, 61 reviews, 1 helpful vote

The Tempest was an amazing visual experience - traditional Shakespeare in every sense (great performances by all involved) - except that Intel was involved and provided some of the most incredible tech I have seen in theatre yet. Especially the full body motion capture suit of Ariel stole the show - never seen anything like it before!

lisawiedemann 172, 61 reviews, 1 helpful vote

Absolutely fantastic! I'll admit to being quite a Shakespeare fan, but this is one of the best performances I've seen.

jacoman891 5'11", 35 reviews, 0 helpful votes

Absolutely fantastic! I'll admit to being quite a Shakespeare fan, but this is one of the best performances I've seen.

jacoman891 5'11", 35 reviews, 0 helpful votes

I found some parts un-needed. The technology which intel provided was very clever using motion sensors to track the actor playing ... More

albuspotter 5"11, 115 reviews, 11 helpful votes

I found some parts un-needed. The technology which intel provided was very clever using motion sensors to track the actor playing Ariel's movements then projecting him like a hologram but a lot of it was out of sync with the actor which just meant it would've looked better without it at all really!

albuspotter 5"11, 115 reviews, 11 helpful votes