Thursday, 28 February 2013

Romeo and Juliet

Tonight I went to see C21 Theatre Company's Romeo and Juliet at the Grand Opera House.  This is a show I last saw at the Globe Theatre and it lasted over 3 hours.  As we were in the Groundling area outdoors in the rain, my memory was that it was endlessly long and very uncomfortable.  C21 promised a shorter version aimed primarily at a secondary school audience.  The production comes in at 80 minutes which is perfect for it's audience.

First mention must go to Jolene O'Hara, a talented young actress who embodied the role of Juliet with ease.  Her delicate beauty and passionate performance was touching. The role of Juliet is a powerful one and I thought she dealt with it well. Romeo, played by Michael Lavery, was a good match for her in performance and also in passion.

The other cast members Mark Claney, Eoghan Lamb, Rachael McCabe and Dan Leith played various roles, and despite a few accent issues on occasion, all were strong.  As a whole the production enthralled the many teenagers in the audience. They sat wide eyed as the story developed and by the end a few were crying.

The show is touring to schools and thus the set and lighting was simple but effective.  The white nets of Juliet's balcony were put to good use as a symbol of innocence and virginity.  On the night of her marriage to Romeo, the lights coloured red and she was innocent no more.

Arthur Webb did a good job at directing the production.  His experience as an educator clear, his knowledge of teen minds meant that the audience's attention was not distracted.  Peppered with humorous moments, music and lots of not too passionate kissing, a teen audience will engage well.  Credit also is due for the adaptation which kept the scenes short and focussed.  A sterling presentation from C21 and great to see them in the Grand Opera House.

Click here to find out more about c21Theatre Company

Click here to book tickets for the Grand Opera House from 26 February - 2 March


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