“Welcome to Creation Cruises. We hope you enjoy your voyage,” said a crew member in an ‘Officer and a Gentlemen’ style white uniform.
We may have been on an industrial estate in central Oxford, but ready to enjoy The Tempest care of Creation Theatre Company, anything goes.
In terms of inventive theatre, Creation cannot be beaten
Having embarked from Tunis in tropical temperatures while imbibing a cocktail, and divided into teams, a storm hit and the passengers and crew began barrelling up and down the aisles, before, in true Titanic style, all was lost.
What followed was a real rabbit warren of ingenuity, creativity and lateral thinking, wrapped up in a massive Shakespearean hug.
We were led from location to location; into offices, paths, bridges, warehouses and buses, as The Tempest unfurled, scene by scene.
Always novel and interesting, the execution was exceptional, the casting genius, the delivery perfect.
There is artistic licence of course, this is Creation after all. My favourite moment was watching the Bishop of Dorchester trying to find a key in a box full of slime, aka I’m A Celebrity, as a fellow “passenger” looked on and said “Don’t you love Shakespeare?”
This didn’t deter from the play as a whole. Instead, the novelty kept us on our toes- where would be next? What would happen? Which character would we meet?
Some stuck in the mind. PK Taylor as Caliban was mesmerising, the lovers Miranda and Ferdinand (Annabelle Terry And Ryan Duncan) had us in the palm of their hands, and Simon Spencer-Hyde as Prospero was suitably menacing.
The final scenes merited a grand reunion as we all attended the wedding, which then descended into an anarchical chaos Jeremy Kyle would have envied.
Never a dull moment, and as we filed out afterwards I thought about what Creation had created from an aesthetically unpleasant location and the help of some local businesses, and marvelled at their dogmatic, passionate, inspired productions. Talk about making a silk purse out of a sows ear.
But then to survive, in Oxford’s Shakespeare saturated culture, you’ve got to come up with something really original, and this Creation has done.
In terms of inventive theatre, Creation cannot be beaten.
But catch it if you can, because word is out before it even began – tickets for the month long run already like gold dust.
The Tempest, Until August 15. creationtheatre.co.uk