Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Romeo & Juliet - Jack Studio Theatre

Three stars

ROMEO and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's best known and best loved plays. The story of the star crossed lovers is a tale full of the universal themes of passion, love and loyalty.
In a new adaptation by CandleFire Theatre Company, now on at the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley, it has been given a contemporary feel with an up to the minute soundtrack and grungy costumes.
It is a lively and imaginative retelling of the Bard's classic tale. As well as being pared down to just under two hours, there are only 10 out of the original 21 characters to tell the story.
Not only that there are a few interesting twists including the delivery of the prologue and the ending.
Some of it works, some of it doesn't, but there is no doubt that it is staged with energy and enthusiasm.
The stage is bare save for a small table which when moved around the stage serves by turns as a bed, a tomb and a bench.
The direction was spot on and really brought out the characteristics and rivalries of the two gangs - the Capulets and the Montagues.
Romeo and his gang were full of swagger, charm and fun - party animals and out for a good time. Tybalt and Paris by comparison were cocky, aggressive and up for a fight.
And there are more than a fair few of those - fight choreographer Steve Bradley deserves special mention for the incredibly realistic fight scenes in which Balthazar in particular seemed to get more than his fair share of beatings.
The cast was generally good with some great performances, in particular Robert Fellman as Romeo and Turan Duncan as Mercutio.
I wasn't convinved about the ending - a twist on the original that also seemed rushed.
That said, this was a lively adaptation full of passion and energy.

Romeo and Juliet is on at the Jack Studio Theatre, Brockley Road, until Thursday, August 16. Tickets cost £14. Visit www.brockleyjack.co.uk or call the box office on 0333 666 3366.

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