THERE can be few better ways to spend a balmy English summer evening than watching a live performance of one of the Bard’s best known works in the sun-drenched gardens of the historic Commandery.

Worcester Repertory Company’s current production, The Tempest, is the seventh in the annual Shakespeare at the Commandery series, which is proving to be popular as ever if the numbers in attendance on Wednesday evening were anything to go by - and it’s easy to see why.

On the turn of 7.30pm , the sun begins to turn amber behind the rickety rooflines of the Commandery buildings, setting the scene for an enchanting evening of Shakespeare.

Believed by many to be the last play the Bard wrote alone, The Tempest is set on a remote island where Prospero, the ousted and rightful Duke of Milan, resides with his daughter Miranda.

He conjures a storm to lure his usurping brother Antonio and the complicit King Alonso to the island in a bid to restore the balance of power and enable his daughter to take her rightful place.

Jonathan Darby commanded suitable reverence in the role of Prospero, demonstrating his vocal talent alongside his acting ability.

Liz Grand played the ideal impish sidekick as Prospero’s “delicate” magical accomplice, Ariel, and Gemma Martyn Smith was equally engaging as the sweet, if not so innocent, Miranda.

Ben Humphrey (co-director and Stephano), Michael King (Trinculo) and Matthew Springett (Caliban) made fantastic comedic sparring partners, with their presence causing the audience to regularly erupt into bouts of hearty laughter.

Rob Leetham and Samuel Griffiths were a convincing duo as subversive scoundrels Sebastian and Antonio, with Chris Read (Ferdinand), Tim Manning (Alonso), John Pickett (Boatswain/Francisco) and Robert Myler (Gonzalo) also putting in excellent performances in their corresponding roles.

And the musical accompaniment provided by the company’s accomplished band seamlessly stitched the acts together, helping the night to (literally) end on a bang.

I thoroughly enjoyed this truly delightful evening of theatre, together with its magical backdrop, and I’m already planning my return visit for next year’s Shakespeare at the Commandery – roll on summer 2014!

Shakespeare at the Commandery runs until Sunday, July 21.