I wasn't that excited about going to see The Tempest. Shakespeare is endlessly performed in Cambridge and it is rare that you see a production that brings genuinely new ideas, but director Oscar Toeman's vision is first-class and fresh.

This run of The Tempest has sold out, and unsurprisingly, as the audience only seats forty people. But the small and personal venue of the ADC's Larkum Studio, not often used for performances, adds another dimension to the show which would be lost in a larger space.

Let me talk you through my experience. The actors are already on stage when you walk into the room; I say stage, I mean 15 square feet of floor space with audience members on either side. The atmosphere is quiet and eerie. It's a mixture of that awkward feeling you get when told by a teacher to talk amongst yourselves momentarily and the unspoken rule that you shouldn't talk above a whisper when in an art gallery. So when the modernised weather report which starts the play comes booming out with the flashing lights and sound effects of a storm, you really feel the tempest upon you.

The actors were brave and skilled for being able to pull this off. They had no protective barrier between stage and audience but rather were exposed from all angles and only inches away from their audience. We see the action in a way unlike before, as the audience become like Prospero in overseeing what goes on. In this way, the excellent cast were successful in bringing the audience members into the drama, and not only by offering us pizza and asking a man in the front row to hold a prop (it was a can of beer, he didn't say no).

The script is well cut and delivered successfully, with several inspired treats: scenes repeated to portray different views, a drunken sailor complete with footy scarf and yoyo, live singing and percussion by the actors, and a charming moment where Ariel (to quote Wikipedia: "the airy spirit") nonchalantly swigs at a can of Sprite.

The play is serious without being boring and funny without being unfeasibly ridiculous. At the end of the day, any play which hands out beer and pizza to the audience gets a tick in my book. By Lauren Davidson

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