Stratford upon Avon.
ROMEO AND JULIET
by William Shakespeare.
Royal Shakespeare Theatre In rep to 2 April 2011.
7.15 pm 14, 17, 18, 22, 23, 26, 29-31 March, 2 April.
Mat 1pm 19, 24 March.
Audio-described 30 March.
Captioned 22 March.
Runs: 3hr 20min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 800 1110.
Review: Jan Pick 10 March.
A new home for ‘Two Houses…….’
Entering the foyer of the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre it is striking how much more space seems to have been generated, without losing a sense of warmth and welcome.The buzz of excitement in the air is palpable as the milling crowd waits for the house doors to open.
The new auditorium feels familiar – like walking into a bigger version of the Swan; whether this is entirely a good thing is a matter of opinion as having two similar auditoria may limit staging options and opportunities for future productions. On the positive side, however, the audience feels immediately at home, and is much closer to the stage than in the old RST, making it easier to connect with the action. And, importantly, the acoustics are very good. It will be interesting to see the new productions designed and directed specifically for it.
The space certainly works for the revival of this excellent Romeo and Juliet, which started life last March in the prototype Courtyard Theatre. With high octane central performances from Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale as the tragic young lovers, delivering the passion without sacrificing the language and poetry, and excellent performances from the rest of the cast, it is a production that has matured beautifully.
JohnJo O’Neil is still a roistering, witty Mercutio, but he now plays him with an edge of bitter darkness that makes him far more complex and intriguing. Richard Katz’s Lord Capulet is quietly dangerous and frighteningly unpredictable, making Christine Entwisle’s Lady Capulet much more effective, as her intense emotion at the deaths of her family struggles to escape her self-imposed passivity. Noma Dumezweni excels as the Nurse and Joseph Arkley is a sinister and suitably feline Tybalt.
There are still a few quibbles – the sung messages to Romeo in Mantua and later in the churchyard, however well done, jar, and bicycles are surely by now an overused gimmick, but otherwise direction, design and acting mesh to create an excitingly dangerous, passionate and ultimately heart wrenching evening.
Escalus, Prince of Verona: David Carr.
Mercutio: Jonjo O’Neill.
Paris: James Howard.
Lord Montague: David Rubin.
Lady Montague: Simone Saunders.
Romeo: Sam Troughton.
Benvolio: Oliver Ryan.
Balthasar: Gruffudd Glyn.
Abraham/Friar John/Watchman: Peter Peverley.
Lord Capulet: Richard Katz.
Lady Capulet: Christine Entwisle.
Juliet: Mariah Gale.
Tybalt: Joseph Arkley.
Nurse: Noma Dumezweni.
Peter: Dyfan Dwyfor.
Cousin Capulet/Apothecary/Constable: Patrick Romer.
Sampson/Watchmen: Ben Ingles/James Traherne.
Gregory: Dharmesh Patel.
Friar Laurence: Forbes Masson.
Ladies: Debbie Korley, Kirsty Woodward.
Director: Rupert Goold.
Designer: Tom Scutt.
Lighting: Howard Harrison.
Sound/Music: Adam Cork.
Music Director: Bruce O’Neill.
Video/Projection: Lorna Heavey.
Choreographer: Georgina Lamb.
Fights: Terry King.
Text/Voice work: Alison Bomber.
Movement: Struan Leslie.
Assistant director: Michael Fentiman.