ROMEO AND JULIET
by William Shakespeare.
Pilot Theatre Tour to 9 April 2011.
Runs: 2hr 40min One interval.
Review: Alan Geary: 22 March 2011.
Compared with some of Pilot previous work it’s a disappointment.
With a play like Romeo and Juliet, which, rightly, comes round every year, your director has to ask himself long and hard why he’s doing it. Marcus Romer and Katie Posner don’t seem to add many significant insights to the ones we already have.
The chief pleasure with this production – there are a few irritations – is the way it heightens the ever-present dramatic irony. Romeo has an apparently fleeting premonition of impending misfortune, but the audience knows disaster is inevitable. The flowers that make the consummation bed are the very same that will adorn the tomb.
This is not supposed to be a comic take of the play: it’s intended as the real thing. Some of the negatives arise from the sort of drastic doubling-up and cutting of characters which in a summer knock-about would have been exploited for laughs. For instance, the ball scene evaporates before it’s started; and it makes scant sense for the prologue to be done, in place of a Chorus, by Lady Capulet (Mary Rose) in a trench coat.
When she’s not in the trench coat she’s tawdrily tasty in, first, high heels and a green number, then high heels and a red number. Husband Capulet (William Travis) seems a shade rough, a bit like a new-money geezer. The Nurse (Louisa Eyo) for some obscure reason is played as an outrageous Afro-Caribbean caricature.
The best moments are the balcony and bedroom scenes between the lovers themselves (Oliver Wilson and Rachel Spicer). Juliet’s soliloquies are also relatively well done – Wilson’s diction is less than brilliant so his are a bit lost.
This appeared to hit home with a huge audience of Year Elevens. But compared with some of Pilot Theatre’s previous work – think Looking for JJ, ASL or Lord of the Flies – it’s a disappointment.
Nurse/Prince: Louisa Eyo.
Benvolio: Bryn Holding.
Tybalt/Friar Lawrence: Richard James-Neale.
Mercutio/Paris: Chris Lindon.
Lady Capulet: Mary Rose.
Juliet: Rachel Spicer.
Capulet: William Travis.
Romeo: Oliver Wilson.
Directors: Marcus Romer, Katie Posner.
Designer: Chloe Lamford.
Lighting: Richard Howell.
Composer: Sandy Nuttgens.