The Capulets and Montagues are two families eternally at odds. They brawl in the streets and are threatened with capital punishment by the city’s prince for being “enemies to peace.” Romeo Montague, heartsick for a girl, is lured by his friend Mercutio to a masque to cure him of his misery. Disguised amongst the Capulets, they set about an evening of dancing until Romeo sees Juliet Capulet for the first time. And nothing will ever be the same for either of them again.
Audiences are treated to live music and song by an eight man cast who invite their audience into the colourful festival-like production of Ben Power’s Romeo and Juliet. Adapator and director, Power is aware that the children who come to his show “may not have seen this play before, they might not have seen any play before... they may well not know the story. You realise we can all forget the details of the story and there are riches there.” He and associate director Bijan Sheibani have deliberately set the play in the round so the audience can see each other across the stage, like choruses on every side. Power’s adapted the same play for the RSC in 2009 under the title A Tender Thing. He portrayed the lovers as old age pensioners, showing the strength of passion and beauty at any age. And now this production focuses on the madness of young first-time love.
Transformed into an hour-long piece, the lovers’ story is made slicker and easier to follow, delivered with pace and high energy. The actors have translated the feud in Fair Verona into something more akin to “East London and South London, being met with Tower Bridge.” Mercutio delivers his Queen Mab speech like a poetry slam performance and the costumes are a delightful mix of saris, red bowler hats, and flower headdresses. This is Romeo and Juliet as you’ve never seen it told before, and if this second run is anything as “fun, fresh and lively” as its first last year, then this is a delightful introduction to Shakespeare for a young audience.
Suitable for 8 – 12yrs
|Romeo and Juliet at Half Term, National Theatre
|National Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 9PX | MAP
11 Feb 17 – 15 Feb 17, See booking page for times
|Click here to book via National Theatre