Skip to main content

Romeo and Juliet

Dundee Rep
Four stars

On a mocked-up wooden booth stage, the lively cast of Shakespeare's Globe's touring revival of the bard's ultimate adolescent love story move from the auditorium where they've been mingling with the audience and strike up a lively tune with the assorted saxophones, clarinets and big bass drums they've been carrying. Their artisan outfits add to the effect of a hipster-led nouveau Balkan ensemble playing some boisterous homage to the ghosts of lost romances past, and after some out-front introductions, we're off into a show that doesn't let up for a second.

The lights remain on in director Dominic Dromgoole's production, which is exactly how it should be as his cast of eight plus three musicians burl their way through action which is at times cut up to juxtapose crucial moments as a film might do. So while Hannah McPake's Lady Capulet and Sarah Higgins' Nurse attempt to marry Cassie Layton's Juliet off to Paris with a girlish fervour that resembles a sorority sleepover, Samuel Valentine's lovesick Romeo and his tattooed gang strut and preen their way to gatecrashing the big fancy-dress do.

As the play's central couple, Layton and Valentine cut a youthful dash through the florid early scenes, with Layton's wide-eyed Juliet falling for Valentine's geeky charm as Romeo in a passion in four days done here as ripping yarn. Once things get serious, both with their affair and the fatal street fights they inspire, they're s understandably overcome with earnestness as any teen who becomes the centre of attention might be. When the inevitable happens, however, they're back to being players once more as things erupt into an appositely joyous dance of death.
 
The Herald, July 17th 2015
 
ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…