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review: romeo and juliet at york theatre royal | Live & Love York | Creative Lifestyle Magazine

21 Sep

review: romeo and juliet at york theatre royal

Posted on September 21, 2010 by livelove Picture 24

Currently showing at York Theatre Royal until the 25th of September.

It is always refreshing to see an adaptation of Shakespeare???s classic that does something new. That is exactly what the Pilot Theatre???s latest offering does.

The first thing that strikes you is Chloe Lamford???s beautiful set design. A flower-laden stage against a black frame with clever use of lighting all play backdrop to this exciting new version.

This very modern interpretation sees a rather mopey, typically teenage Juliet (portrayed by newcomer Rachel Spicer) making her impulsive slightly petulant demands on a sharp, hormonally charged Romeo (Oliver Wilson).

This is a brave adaptation, offering a twist on well-known characters to the Baz Luhrmann generation.

The interpretation has stuck very cleverly to the original text. Rather than refer to past interpretations they have acted purely under ???sola scriptura??? and demonstrated how surprisingly modern the text is. With clever body language and deliverance the cast have given the text a raw and open interpretation.

I would recommend anybody to go and check this out. It???s the ever-fresh Pilot Theatre???s first stab at Shakespeare, and in my opinion they have done the classic play justice.

See it here first before it embarks on a four-month tour of the UK.

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Review: Romeo & Juliet, York Theatre Royal #kissbythebook

17 Sep
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THE raked stage is strewn with so many flowers as Lady Capulet (Mary Rose) visits the family morgue where her daughter Juliet???s body lies.

We begin at the end, the die already cast for the ???two hours??? traffick of our stage???, which for once sticks to those two hours. She will be the narrator, the play filtered through her eyes, as she delivers the prologue and the woeful final words too after the bloodshed of the feuding Montague and Capulet families.

Her dress goes from figure-hugging, party green to crimson red as soon as the deaths start to pile up. Marcus Romer and Katie Posner???s co-production for Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal is marked by such bold designs, symbolised by the flowers, gathered initially in a heart, being kicked aside.

The black frames of Chloe Lamford???s set are picked out by candles (another symbol of impermanence and life being snuffed out). Richard Howell???s blue rectangular lighting frames Juliet???s bed and the morgue; likewise, the lighting forms a golden cross to signify the abode of Friar Lawrence (Richard James-Neale).

This production is billed as a love story for the 21st century, and not only the star-cross???d lovers being played by a black and a white actor (Oliver Wilson???s Romeo and new RADA graduate Rachel Spicer???s Juliet) denote that status.

Rather than Verona, it could be anytown Britain, with a Scouse Mercutio (Chris Lindon) and a Caribbean Nurse (Louisa Eyo), while Neale???s Friar has not only hippy sandals but a tattooed arm.

Much like Baz Luhrmann???s 1996 film version, this is an ultramodern Romeo & Juliet, but theatrical rather than cinematic. Out go Pilot???s trademark multi-media flourishes; in comes traditional, flesh-and-blood, physical theatre strengths, allied to Sandy Nuttgens???s always appropriate music.

The cast is cut to eight, the Montague parents nowhere to be seen, and the dual roles provide striking opposites for Eyo as the outwardly subservient Nurse and decree-giving Prince; Neale as the fiery Tybalt and laidback Friar; and Lindon as the wordplay-spinning, strutting Mercutio and earnest suitor Paris.

Romeo & Juliet is the perfect Shakespeare play for Pilot with its target audience of teens. It has a restless energy, maybe too much so on press night, and moves from comedy, loud and lewd and sexually boisterous, to tragedy via the flowering of young love.

And what of the young lovers? Wilson???s lithe Romeo is no poetry-wafting softie; he is as much a lad as Bryn Holding???s Benvolio until struck by love.

Fresh out of drama school, Spicer???s Juliet is less consistent, losing momentum for a while in the second half. You sense her performances will change from night to night, still playing with vocal rhythms, finding herself, much like the teenage Juliet, but what a thrillingly physical performer she is already.

And look out for the one addition to the familiar text: Juliet???s response to her father doing a spot of embarrassing dad-dancing at the Capulet masked ball.

Romeo & Juliet, York Theatre Royal, until September 25, then on tour. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

This week’s new theatre | Stage | The Guardian #kissbythebook preview

13 Sep
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Romeo and Juliet previewed in The Guardian on Saturday

“To be honest, very few stage revivals of Shakespeare’s play have quite the impact of Baz Lurhmann’s 1996 movie version starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, which captured all the violence of Verona and all the exhilaration and melancholy of first love. But if there is a company that can really drag the star-crossed lovers into the 21st century, it should be Pilot, which has created a body of work that speaks to young people and explores their world. The carpet of flowers laid out before Kensington Palace after Diana’s death or those roadside shrines to accident victims is the visual starting point of a production that offers a way into the drama through the grieving Lady Capulet, mother of the dead Juliet. A young cast, some only just out of drama school, should give this the drive and energy it needs to feel contemporary and relevant.”

York Theatre Royal, to 25 Sep

Lyn Gardner

click the Guardian link to read the full article