"I have bedimm'd the noontide sun..." says Jonathan Slinger's Prospero, as we sit ensconced inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre through a fine, bright Saturday afternoon watching The Tempest.
As we've found before in Stratford's revamped main house, some of those magic words were lost to us this time also: we were in the extreme left corner of the Circle (as you look at the stage) - this may have had something to do with it, or are we just getting older and deafer? Slinger's admirably wide-ranging voice seemed to drop almost to a whisper at times. He has little of John Wood's presence, but the virtual twinning of Prospero and Ariel - Father and Holy Spirit - was inspired.
The Dramatis Personae listing Sebastian as King Alonso's brother makes it feel wilful at first to cast a high-heeled, curvaceous Kirsty Bushell in the part. But this is all part and parcel of a brilliant production by David Farr: a highly poetic and mysterious play is given to us full of real theatre - indeed, this Tempest is one of the best RSC renderings we have caught in recent years.