Romeo & Juliet - Review

Reviewed by James Harrington (Southend Theatre Scene)

"For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo"

It was difficult to watch this play without thinking about and making comparisons with Baz Luhrmans Romeo and Juliet as if attempts to tread a similar path.Yes, this is Shakespeare with backwards baseball caps, army fatigues and dance music.

The action started outside with Montagues and Capulets squaring up to one another with a thuggish Tybalt telling Benvolio to turn and look upon his death. The rival gangs use knives rather than swords but the language remains the same. The show and audience then moved indoors.

The Capulet party had a band playing T Rex as the revellers walked up and down the aisles, special mention for the actor playing Paris whose dad dancing was quite hilarious.

Of course this is where the young lovers meet for the first time. William Love (aptly named) brings a lanky clumsiness to the role coupled with an athleticism which lends itself to physical comedy. In short he is not your stereotypical Romeo but was entertaining none the less.

Director Mike Dodsworth is to be commended for the overall production as this show really does work. It uses a minimalist background and keeps it simple, but a great young cast really help make this a memorable performance. 

Friar Laurence was probably miscast as he was too young. I can't say I liked his MC Hammer trousers or his vaping, but these are small matters.

This was a talented group of actors but there was only one star amongst them and that was Alexandra Duffy who plays Juliet.

Firstly she looked the part due to her youthful looks and wardrobe. She also had the acting chops and the overall charisma and presence to take her to the next level. It was hard to take your eyes off her whenever she was on stage. Her performance made this production better than it otherwise would have been.

This was of course a group effort, which is also to be commended for helping make Shakespeare accessible to a younger generation.

​Review: James Harrington