Romeo and Juliet

Writen by William Shakespeare, Directed by Barrie Rutter
Northern Broadsides
Liverpool Playhouse (8th-12th April 2008)

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

When I view an off-beat production of a play by Shakespeare, as in Northern Boradsides Romeo and Juliet, I sometimes speculate if the great Bard would have approved or not of the interpretation.

I am not sure what he would have felt about this version. But I know it left me flummoxed. In particular with the unpredictable nature of a lot of the two-and-a-half span, which included clog dancing, harmonica playing by Romeo, the use of cajun and blues music, the playing of a trombone, etc.

It seemed to me at times that aspects of this oddball approach was effect for the sheer sake of effect. Hey, let's make a play by Shakespeare as wacky as we can.

The one constant strand of the production, although that is not meant as a compliment, was the use of the Northern English accent: 'Goin down th' mill' - that type of thing. It did get a bit jarring at times.

The almost bare stage set did not help either in regard to the general lack of visual appeal.

The acting left a lot to be desired as well. Both Romeo (Benedict Fogarty) and Juliet (Sarah Ridgeway), for example, were often weak in their vocal delivery and and were not convincing in the roles they played.

Vocal delivery was also a problem with actor/director Barrie Rutter, who played Capulet. The poor man sounded like he had contracted laryngitis.

The main drama of the evening for me occured when my friend fled from the theatre after being told that the house next door to her had just gone on fire!

But there was little spark about the fare on stage.

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Comment left by rupal maru on 18th June, 2008 at 18:05
i had oome to see this version of romeo and juliet with alot of hope and expectation, and to see how nothern broadsides would combat and interpret the world famous romeo and juliet, however i was extremely disapointed by the lack of visual stimulation and over revernce to the text, that i totally lost focus and thought about leaving the auditouriam

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