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Review by Olivia Gardener.
Romeo and Juliet… I was pretty pessimistic myself, I must admit. Although being a big fan of Shakespeare and having read the script for Othello, I had never actually seen his work performed on stage. I’m not really sure what I was expecting; but after all, his work was written to be performed!
The theatre itself is beautifully decorated with bare brick walls and although pretty small inside, had an extremely cosy feel and a much more homely atmosphere than other theatres I have been to. I think this worked very well with the play itself, creating a very realistic and personal feeling; allowing the audience to really integrate into the play itself. The young cast took full advantage of this, running up and down the side aisles and making those watching feel like they were right in amongst the action.
The play itself is set just after World War 2 and based around the Berlin Wall; this being the physical barrier between our lovers. Although a re-imagination of the classic text, the script stuck very close to the original; which was a relief to myself, emphasising the majestic, poetic Shakespearean language to the fullest. This however did not alter the understanding of the play; it was made extremely obvious to us as an audience what was happening at all points, and as the story of Romeo and Juliet, I think it’s safe to say, is a very well-known one, the play was very easy to follow.
In addition, the context in which the play was performed was an interesting one. An almost juxtaposition between the setting and script but I felt it really appealed to younger audiences, bringing a fresh and more up-to-date, yet still very relevant, interpretation and scenario in which the play is set. Minus a few technical difficulties at the start, the performance blossomed to its full potential and though it was clear cast members were nervous (who wouldn’t be!), they soon relaxed and embraced their roles.
I must warn you, however, about a fairly uncomfortable scene to watch; this particular play is not suitable for younger viewers. I felt the scene was neither needed nor relevant, but felt rather awkward as a member of the audience to sit and view; which subsequently led to a rather awkward car journey home with my mother…