The names are familiar, more or less. The plot is that familiar mix of slapstick, farce, and dramatic magic. Yes this is certainly The Tempest, but it's the Bard's work with a twist: the embittered exiled former ruler of Milan is a duchess, not a duke.
For this is a woman's world - the rulers, the sailors, the court are all female. The only male presence is that of Mirundo: the soft, tender, virgin flesh being offered here for a mother's own purposes is male.
It's an ambitious attempt by the young Good Night Out Presents company in the debuting venue of the Cock Tavern Theatre to find something new in the familiar. If the alchemy doesn't entirely come off, it's still a brave and interesting effort.
The greatest fault lies perhaps in the enormous ask being made of Prospera (Karen Paullada). To call on a young and inexperienced actor to play an embittered matriarch wielding magical powers who gradually rediscovers her humanity is asking rather a lot. Much more might be done too with Bella Westgarth's Gonzalina in attempting to convey some real sense of age.
In the early part of the play I found myself almost grasping something deeper and more difficult in the work of adapter and director Simon Beyer - asking if it was me or society that was finding a "female Prospero" difficult? That's not, however, a question that this production manages to sustain.
It also never really comes to terms with the problem of Caliban - not that now, with our modern-day attitudes towards disability and disadvantage, there is, perhaps, any solution to Caliban. She's played here by Clare Cameron with energy and presence, but lacking in either malevolence or a real ability to evoke pity.
But there's much to admire in this production. Take Natasha James' lithe, skittish, kittenish Arielle. James effortlessly dominates the stage with her controlled, trembling, hopeful energy, and an imaginative staging that makes full use of the cramped space allows her a full range of bodily expression.