ROMEO AND JULIET
by William Shakespeare
Temple Church, Temple (off Fleet Street) London EC4Y 73B to 7 September 2014
Wed – Sat 8pm Mat Sat & Sun 3pm
Runs 2 hr 20 mins One interval
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366
Review: William Russell 31 August
Good things to catch, but in a Temple of Doom
This Anticdisposition staging set more or less in the present day is admirable and has in Dylan Kennedy a terrific Romeo, a spoilt child in the throes of first love, not the prettiest boy on the block perhaps, but utterly disarming.
It has been directed with style by Ben Horslen and John Risbero and the Temple Church provides a splendid, evocative setting. But the acoustics are dreadful and at times it is very difficult to make out what is being said, although some of the men come off pretty well, including Mr Kennedy. The decision to stage it under the dome of the church is understandable. The stage is framed by four handsome pillars and the tombs of some of the knights Templar. But the echo is horrendous. It would have been far wiser, since Middle Temple Hall, where I have seen previous performances by this company, not being available to have opted for the nave and seated the audience in the pews either side.
Bryony Tebbutt is a rather strident Juliet – she has a tendency to throw screechy tantrums – Helen Evans as the Nurse has been given some ghastly clothes to wear which have the effect of making her performance seem like something out of Carry On Verona. Russell Anthony is a younger than usual, but most effective Friar Laurence.
As Mercutio James Murfitt is splendidly louche, and has clearly been studying at the shrine of the blessed Rupert Everet, while Stefan Majczak makes a butch, feisty Benvolio. The knife fights – no swords – between the Capulet and Montague teenagers are staged with great energy, and James Burrows has provided some sonorous and lovely background music, but the masked ball at which the lovers first meet is most odd. A formal affair it looks as if it had been lifted from Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.
All in all, worth catching for lots of reasons, not least the venue which, despite its lousy acoustic, is superb. However, they must go back to the Hall next time.
Escalus, Prince of Verona: Chris Courtenay
Mercutio: James Murfitt
Paris: Alex Hooper
Montague: James Pellow
Romeo: Dylan Kennedy
Benvolio: Stefan Majczak
Capulet: Andrew Bolton
Lady Capulet: Pamela Hall
Juliet: Bryony Tebbutt
Tybalt: Jack Joseph
Nurse: Helen Evans
Friar Laurence: Russell Anthony
Friar John: Jack Joseph
Apothecary: James Pellow
Watchman: James Murfitt
Directors: Ben Horslen and John Riseboro
Designer: John Riseboro
Lighting Designer: Tom Boucher
Music: James Burrows
Choreographer: Richard Jones
Fight Director: Ruth Cooper Brown of R-C Annie Ltd