Review: The Tempest

She’s not buying it.

She’s not buying it.

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Theatre Company

6:30 p.m. Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday; $26-$35. Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H Street; (916) 443-6722; Through March 19.
Rated 4.0

As Shakespeare’s The Tempest begins, a storm-tossed ship loaded with nobles and their servants and sycophants is wrecked and its occupants washed up on a magical island. The scene is a marvel of lighting and staging, a glimpse into this strange land where Prospero (a magnificent Matt K. Miller) and his daughter Miranda (Hope Luna, sharing the role with Monique Ward Lonergan) have lived in exile for 12 years.

Prospero had been duke of Milan until his pursuit of the study of magic got him deposed by his brother Antonio (Ian Hopps), who is among the shipwrecked. Also on board are Alonso, the King of Naples (Gregg Koski), his son Ferdinand (Sam C. Jones), his brother Sebastian (Kevin Gish) and his advisor Gonzolo (Gary S. Martinez, strong in a supporting role). Stephano, the king’s butler, and Trinculo, the king’s jester (played by Michael RJ Campbell and Jake Mahler, respectively) provide much comic relief, while island dwellers Ariel (Emily Serdahl) and Caliban (Atim Udoffia) do Prospero’s bidding as he maneuvers events to his planned outcome. Aaron Galligan-Stierle directs the intricate story in a way that makes it all easily understood and enjoyed despite its sometimes dense language and complicated cast of characters. He divides scenes into “the nobles,” “the fools” and Prospero in a way that keeps the plot organized.