Skip to main content

Romeo and Juliet

Botanic Gardens, Glasgow
Four stars

It’s all kicking off down at the local adventure playground where rival gangs flirt, fight and hang out in the opening show of this year’s Bard in the Botanics season of outdoor Shakespeare plays, which this year falls under the Star Cross’d Lovers umbrella. Against a backdrop of a peace wall mural preaching the power of love, the local n’er-do-wells run riot by way of a series of square-goes that cause these youths to be more doomed than most.

Before all that, there’s a drag party round at the Capulets club-house that looks like something straight out of Rent, and should lead to some serious voguing. Such a streetwise parallel isn’t that far-fetched in Jennifer Dick’s contemporary production, which puts cross-dressing to the fore. Dylan Blore’s floppy-haired Romeo sports a non-binary black kilt, while Rebecca Robin’s Juliet clearly wears the trousers, a smarty-pants wherever she’s at.

Notably here, both of the lovers are from single parent families, leaving them and the assorted dysfunctional packs they run with to carve out their own androgynous identities without too much in the way of role-models. No wonder Esme Bayley’s gobby tomboy Mercutio comes a cropper at the hands of Michael Lorsong’s more traditionally macho Tybalt.

If Romeo’s happy to be with the girls, Juliet’s nurse is transformed here by Darren Brownlie into a gay best friend with angel wings who serenades the budding romance with post-punk torch songs while sporting a sparkly silver dress. More examples are set by Linda Duncan McLaughlin’s female vicar. If only silly self-absorbed Romeo hadn’t tried to obliterate his loss through a bad drug deal, both he and his true love might have lived to tell a different tale in a spiky and cracklingly inventive take on the original teenage dream.

The Herald, June 25th 2018

Ends



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Peter Brook – The Prisoner

Peter Brook is no stranger to Scotland, ever since the guru of European and world theatre first brought his nine-hour epic, The Mahabharata, to Glasgow in 1988. That was at the city’s old transport museum, which by 1990 had become Tramway, the still-functioning permanent venue that opened up Glasgow and Scotland as a major channel for international theatre in a way that had previously only been on offer at Edinburgh International Festival.
Brook and his Paris-based Theatre des Bouffes du Nord company’s relationship with Tramway saw him bring his productions of La Tragedie de Carmen, La Tempete, Pellease et Mellisande, The Man Who…, and Oh Les Beaux Jours – the French version of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days – to Glasgow.
Thirty years on from The Mahabharata, Brook comes to EIF with another piece of pan-global theatre as part of a residency by Theatre des Bouffes du Nord, which Brook has led since he decamped to Paris from London in the early 1970s. The current Edinburgh residency has alr…

Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare's Globe Comes to Glasgow

Open-air Shakepeares are a summer-time perennial of the theatre calendar, attracting picnicking audiences as much as midges. More often than not, such romps through the grass are frothy, heritage industry affairs designed to be accompanied by strawberries and cream and not to be taken too seriously. Shakespeare’s Globe theatre company look set to change such perceptions when they open their outdoor tour of Romeo And Juliet in Glasgow next week as part of the West End festival.

For the two young actors taking the title roles of the doomed lovers, it will also be something of a homecoming. Richard Madden and Ellie Piercy both studied in Glasgow prior to turning professional. Indeed, Madden has yet to graduate from the acting course at RSAMD, and, as well as facing the pressures of playing such a meaty role in close proximity to the audience, will have the added anxiety of being assessed and graded by his tutors.

“This is the end of my third year,” says Madden following a Saturday mornin…

Suzy Glass – Message from the Skies

Freedom of movement matters to Suzy Glass, the arts and events producer currently overseeing the second edition of Message from the Skies.This animated literary derive around the city forms part of this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay programme, and runs right through till Burns’ Night. Glass’ concerns are inherent in the event itself, which has commissioned six writers from different disciplines and experiences to each pen a love letter to Europe. Each writer has then paired up with a composer and visual artist or film-maker, with the results of each collaboration projected in monumental fashion on the walls of one of half a dozen of the capital’s most iconic buildings.
With venues stretching from the south side of Edinburgh to Leith, and with one city centre stop requiring a walk up Calton Hill, there is considerable legwork required to complete the circuit. It shouldn’t be considered a race, however, and audiences are free to move between venues at their leisure, visiting each site on d…