De Ja vu ensures when I arrive once again for the second time that day at the Everyman Theatre, this time for Romeo and Juliet.
The basis for the staging is the same as before, with the added props and different lighting. It does become a different scene and clever recycling of the set. As before in Peter Pan, performers had head mics, this performance has a microphone at the front of the stage that picks up the entire area. This does dip in and out with parts being louder than others – a slight lack of consistency. This is where the performers should have compensated for this potential eventuality with their own voices. The lighting itself was below average. It felt as if the technician was testing the lighting on the night itself and times when the sky was dark, the staging was not sufficiently lit or had drastic changes in light that felt uncomfortable and a little annoying – taking attention away from the performance.
The cast were a large range of abilities and ages. Feeling as if I am pulling away from supporting my fellow young performers, it felt as if the older performers were the best- whether this comes from experience or more understanding of the play. Others seemed to lack understanding of the text, evident in their stunted execution. At all times performers were on stage, watching the scene intently if not in it but this was only effective when it was consistent – I found myself being drawn away by performers who lost concentration and looked bored as their eyes drew away from the performers.
Marketing the show, we expected to see a traditional dressed production – which is hard to get wrong in performance. This performance had taken a modern approach to the performance and this was fine for what it was. The producers could have worn any clothes and it would have been the same. An abstract and metaphorical approach was taken at times, using basic physical theatre to represent parts. Again this lacked consistency – we either wanted an emotional and real interpretation or a physical theatre piece. It unfortunately did not seem to gel in this case.
Romeo and Juliet unfortunately felt confused and lacking a clear path. While the performers seemed to work hard, it did not always pay off and I came away feeling a little uninspired.