SOME members of the cast of this enchanting open-air youth performance were not even born when their predecessors stood on neatly trimmed squares of turf to speak verse from The Tempest at the launch of the Storm on the Lawn project in 1998.
This year the Theatre Royal, Bath’s young people’s summer school organisers have gone back to their Shakespearean roots for this tale of two sets of mixed-up twins who get themselves into all kinds of mischief through mistaken identities.
Accommodating more than 60 leash straining teenage enthusiasts in a play which has just 17 characters presents a considerable challenge in itself which director Heidi Vaughan and designer Harriet de Winton solved by expedient of dressing them up the kids in colourful costumes and letting them chase each other about the stage.
But when the running around stopped there was some impressive acting to solder together a complex plot and eventually allow long separated brothers to reunite – but only after two hours of mayhem.
The project was made even more testing by having ten different actors interchanging the roles of two sets of twins – but the ploy of playing freezing statues with the action at the changeovers was wonderfully effective. And dressing the couples from Ephesus in green hats and those from Syracuse in red provided helpful visual aids.
It is always the group work which impresses after so many dedicated weeks of rehearsal but Larissa Obolensky as Adriana, the put-upon wife of one Antipholus, and Jonathan Pert as the father of both came over with distinction. The comic use of a number of the minor characters worked well.