Last night I had the pleasure of going to Stratford Upon Avon to watch Romeo and Juliet. I had initially decided not to go, as I have seen it more than any other Shakespeare play, but after reading Kevin Mulryne’s review I booked tickets and am delighted I did.
I am not intending this to be a review of the whole play, but the things that really stood out to me were:
- Amazing lighting. It was dark for the majority of the play, lit by candle, burner and torch.
- Stunning costume. Every member of the cast was dressed in period costume, apart from Romeo and Juliet – who were in hoodies and Converse trainers.
- Brilliant choreography – both in movement around the set, but the dancing and fighting.
- The two actors who played Romeo and Juliet. We had the understudy for Romeo – Dyfan Dwyfor, who was simply brilliant at playing the flighty teen in love and Mariah Gale. It is quite unfair of me to say so, but I have seen Mariah many times at Stratford, and my first instinct is to wish it were someone else in the lead; but every time, and none more so than last night, her acting shines above everyone else on stage. She was really amazing last night, to the point that she really led me to believe that she would kill herself, and maybe wake up before Romeo does the dark deed.
- The casting of the two key roles, and the direction of Rupert Goold, really did make me tear up on a number of occasions, for the unguarded happiness, and astonishing depth of despair.
- Mercutio – wow. I have seen his character played so many times, and never so brilliantly as last night. He was tormented and twisted, graphic and rude. Completely over the top in cringeworthiness, but excellent nontheless.
- As always, the set was awe-inspiring. Completely flexible, and you felt like you were in the room with them.
I have to say, that while I thought this version was one of the best I have seen, that view wasn’t shared by Jet, who wasn’t as impressed. She wasn’t such a fan of the darkness. And on a final note we were accompanied to the performance by no less than eight different school trips. One section were incredibly unruly (playing cards, talking, telling jokes); but I have to say that the vast majority were impeccably behaved and a credit to their school. I did, however, want to throw the former bunch off the gallery!
Thank you to Kevin for putting me on to it – I am delighted I went!
PS – a fuller review, and one that I pretty much agree with can be found here