Tag Archives: Romeo and Juliet

WHAT’S ON MARCH: RSC’s Romeo and Juliet at Theatre Royal, Glasgow

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2019 tour Romeo and Juliet will run at Theatre Royal, Glasgow next year as part of a UK tour. Tickets are on sale to ATG Theatre Card holders on Tuesday 4 September on go on general sale on Friday 7 September 2018.

The critically acclaimed production will take to the road after its current season in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, where it runs until September 2018, and performances at the Barbican in London November 2018-January 2019.

Two groups of four young people from the local area will share the role of the Chorus with the professional cast.

Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production features Bally Gill and Karen Fishwick in the roles of Romeo and Juliet.

Erica Whyman said: “In 2016 we toured my production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream around the UK, which involved local amateur groups and school children working alongside our professional cast. I know from first-hand experience the effect this had on those who took part and those who saw the show. It’s therefore a great delight to me to be taking another of my productions, this time Romeo and Juliet, out on the road in 2019.”

Bally Gill’s previous credits for the RSC include Coriolanus, Salome, Vice Versa, Always Orange and Fall of the Kingdom. His other credits include The Island Nation (Arcola Theatre), A Local Boy (The Arts Theatre), Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Bureau of Lost Things (Theatre 503) and NW (BBC/Mammoth Screen).

Karen Fishwick makes her RSC debut. She most recently appeared in Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (National Theatre of Scotland/Live Theatre). Her other credits include Glasgow Girls (NTS/Citizens), Hansel and Gretel (Citizens Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, A Christmas Carol (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh), Badults (BBC Three), James Kirk’s Comedy Blaps, The Illuminati (The Comedy Unit) and Tides and Telegrams (for The Winter Tradition).

Charlotte Josephine, known for her writing as well as acting, plays Mercutio. Charlotte’s hit plays include the award-winning Bitch Boxer and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe sell-out Blush. Her acting credits beyond her own work include being part of the Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre Company and Phyllida Lloyd’s Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse.

Ishia Bennison plays the Nurse. Ishia’s previous RSC work includes: A Mad World My Masters, Candide, A New Way To Please You, Sejanus: His Fall, Speaking Like Magpies, Cymbeline and Measure for Measure. Her extensive on-screen credits include Happy Valley, New Tricks, Last Tango in Halifax, Much Ado About Nothing and King David with Richard Gere.

Playing Tybalt is Raphael Sowole, whose credits include Simon Stephens‘ adaptation of The Seagull (Lyric Hammersmith), Pygmalion (Headlong, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Nuffield) and Black Theatre Live’s touring production of Hamlet.

The cast also includes: Afolabi Alli (Paris); Donna Banya (Gregory); Stevie Basaula (Sampson); Katy Brittain (Friar John/Apothecary); Raif Clarke (Peter); Beth Cordingly (Escalus); Paul Dodds (Montague); Josh Finan (Benvolio); Andrew French (Friar Laurence); Mariam Haque (Lady Capulet); Michael Hodgson (Capulet); John Macaulay (Cousin Capulet); Tom Padley (Balthasar); Sakuntala Ramanee (Lady Montague) and Nima Taleghani (Abraham).

The production is designed by Tom Piper with lighting by Charles Balfour and sound by Jeremy Dunn. Music is by Sophie Cotton and movement by Ayse Tashkiran.

REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet – Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Dominic Dromgoole’s final touring production before finishing his tenure as Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe is a pared-back Elizabethan style booth staging of Shakespeare’s much-loved tragedy Romeo and Juliet. With multiple roles and minimal props the actors deliver a ‘strolling player’ take on the Bard’s blockbuster.

Atmosphere is such a critical element of Globe productions, the feelings evoked in the famous wooden ‘O’ when night falls and the stars twinkle above, is both hard to beat and to replicate. And so it proved in this beautiful, jewel box, mid-Victorian, proscenium arch theatre. The lights remained ‘up’ throughout and unlike its home at the Globe did not dim as evening progressed and while certainly prompting the audience to attention, it also served to highlight the early exits of some theatre-goers during the production.

There are though, many things to applaud here: the production begins with spirit, though it feels like many miles from Verona due to the Balkan-like jig, seeming to signal an energetic purpose the proceedings; scenes are trimmed and play out overlapping one another, ridding it of time-wasting scene changes and also, in the early stages, imbuing the storytelling with drive and the narrative throughout retains its clarity due to the well thought out direction. That said by the end this early drive had all but ran out of steam and been eschewed for quite possibly, the longest draw out death scene one can remember having had to sit through. It is never a good directorial choice to provoke a desire in the audience to leap onstage and fell the fatal blow to speed up proceedings.

The company, whilst hugely competent are somewhat low-key, only Tom Kanji’s Friar Laurence/Benvolio and Sarah Higgins’ Nurse remain writ large in the memory, the pair charismatic and confident presences onstage.The young lovers are played here by close to age-appropriate actors who manage to encapsulate not only the all-consuming fire of young love but its gaucheness and naivety. However the emotions portrayed by Cassie Layton as Juliet don’t seem to come from a place of any depth, it feels more surface than substance, all not helped by her difficulties with projection in this cavernous auditorium: much of her dialogue was consigned to the ether rather than the ears of the audience.

It is such a pity, there’s much that is good here, but an evening at Shakespeare’s Globe is such a magical experience, and one’s hope is that this competent but sometimes lifeless production doesn’t prevent the audience from exploring the riches of Shakespeare further.

Runs until Saturday 8 August 2015

This review was originally written for and published by http://www.thepublicreviews.com

REVIEW: Scottish Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/scottish-ballet-romeo-and-juliet-kings-theatre-glasgow/

Music: Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography: Krzysztof Pastor

Design: Tatyana van Walsum

Often credited as the most inventive full length ballet ever created, Scottish Ballet returns with vibrant re-interpretation of the much-loved classic Romeo and Juliet.

From Sergei Prokofiev’s 52-piece score and William Shakespeare’s original narrative, Polish choreographer Krzysztof Pastor and dramaturg Willem Bruls have “pruned discretely” many of the incidental numbers and a few of the most familiar characters from the piece: there’s no Paris, no Nurse and no Escalus here, instead the focus is firmly placed on the central story of the ‘star cross’d lovers’ and their warring families. Set in the 30s, 50s and 90s, this revival of the pair’s 2008 production asks the audience the question: “are they the same lovers in every era or a new generation suffering the same old problem?”

In any narrative ballet the movement must tell the story and in trimming the extraneous distractions Pastor infuses the work with greater passion and realism and heightens the tension throughout. Credit must be given to the impressive realism with which Pastor has imbued the fight scenes, something which is often lacking in classical interpretations of the piece.

Erik Cavallari (Romeo) and Sophie Martin (Juliet) reprise the roles created on them in 2008 and both retain the same passion and focus for their characters. Martin skilfully develops Juliet from impetuous teenager to grown woman during the course of the ballet and Cavallari is a noble and dignified Romeo: both remain utterly captivating throughout. In support, Victor Zarallo has many scene-stealing moments as a mercurial Mercutio as does Christopher Harrison as a powerful Tybalt and Eve Mutso and Owen Thorne make a suitably regal, elegant and imposing pair as Juliet’s parents.

From the earthy toned costumes of the Montagues to the Fascist black-shirted Capulets to the series of projected backdrops that move from Mussolini’s 1930s through the la dolce vita 1950s (there’s more than a whiff of that other famous Romeo and Juliet adaptation West Side Story in this sequence) to Berlusconi’s 1990s, there’s much to please the eye and plenty of subtle detail, but those looking for a romantic ivy strewn balcony are in for a disappointment, replaced as it is by a minimalist, aluminium lift-like structure.

Special mention must be made of the impeccable playing of Prokofiev’s beautiful, soaring score by the orchestra of Scottish Ballet. The score sounds as fresh as the day it was written and there is a genuine spine-tingling, hairs on the back of the neck moment as the first notes of the Dance of the Knights ring out from the orchestra pit.

This is a sure-fire hit, sparkling with life and suffused with drama and with Prokofiev’s exquisite score and Pastor’s highly inventive choreography you won’t fail to be captivated from start to finish.

Runs until 26 April then touring
Image: Andrew Ross