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Romeo and Juliet

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
3 stars
Hearts and flowers are everywhere in Pilot Theatre’s touring production of Shakespeare’s teenage love tryst tragedy, from the ostentatious shrine we’ve grown used to from public displays of mass grieving that opens the play, to the bed of roses the couple both consummate their marriage on before being embalmed to resemble a classicist painting. With a cast of eight playing in modern dress, Romeo and Mercutio’s late night confrontations with the Capulet boys look like one more Saturday night post closing time pagga between assorted smart but casual types looking after their respective manors.

Romeo’s name may not be down for the party to end them all, but it’s here he stumbles into Rachel Spicer’s Juliet, a checked-shirt and Daisy Duke denim shorts sporting Tomboy kicking against the nouveau riche glamour of her parents and the bow-tie sporting geek they’ve set her up with. Inbetween being mortified by some embarrassing Dad dancing, Juliet falls head over heels as she blossoms into womanhood.

Stylistically, then, Marcus Romer and Katie Posner’s production works a treat. While the senior Montagues are excised from the play completely, Friar Lawrence becomes a hip vicar who spouts liberation theology in sandals and a t-shirt with a picture of Jesus that resembles Che Guevara. There is even a last minute hint that it is a jealous Lady Capulet who sells Romeo his poison. It’s just a shame that such an otherwise vivid and modern treatment is let down by some patchy acting which, outside of Spicer and Oliver Wilson as Romeo, resorts to surface mannerisms where, in front of a schools matinee audience, truth counts most of all.

The Herald, November 1st 2010



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