Romeo and Juliet
Posted by Beep the Meep on Fri, 11 Mar 2011.
The curtain lifts. On stage is a shrine covered in flowers and glowing in candlelight. The lights dim and on walks Lady Capulet. Yes, Lady Capulet, a minor character in the original play but a major one in this brand new production through whose eyes the story is told. It’s the same classic story but brought smack bang into the 21st century. But, why, you may ask? In 1996 an MTV-inspired big budget movie showed us an up-to-date version of Romeo and Juliet. And yet, this is different. The film, to be honest, goes too far in its changes. This version is much simpler but more effective.
The set remains the same for the whole show. It is very basic but built on some really clever themes. Flowers, for instance, are used everywhere in different contexts in the show. A huge row of them came across the front of the stage. Up in the rafters candles flicker, giving an eerie shadow to the death and tomb scenes. In fact it was the lights that moved this story from one place to another, not the scenery. A neon cross is used for scenes set in the Church while a blue outlined box gives us the setting for the world famous balcony scene.
The performers are strong, giving their characters a modern attitude despite using Shakespearian language. One character that really appeals, The Nurse, played really well by Louisa Eyo. She is more of a mother to Juliet than Juliet’s own mother in Shakespeare’s original play; in this version she is the link between the two leads which helps move the story along. Mary Rose performs well as Lady Capulet, giving the character depth and emotion rather than a pale woman who stood in the background.
This production is creatively fantastic, but the use of the original language does make the show drag. However the added action and comedy does make up for this. Overall, a classic story retold through a fresh pair of eyes.
- Review by Nathan