Seeing Romeo and Juliet at the Sherman Theatre on the third of October changed my perspective on the play completely, I have studied the play for coursework in year nine and ten and I couldn’t have hated a play more than I hated this one, it absolutely did my head in! The language was pretty difficult for me to grasp and use for evidence in my essays, but after seeing it on stage, I wanted to go back in time and tell myself to hold on, and not judge it rashly. I’m not an expert on Shakespearean English, but the way the actors portrayed their characters in time with their lines made everything so much clearer and much more enjoyable.
My favourite character in this play was Mercutio, who was played by Scott Reid. When I was doing the play in school, I didn’t really know much about any character I didn’t have to write a lengthy essay about, (I wasn’t really supposed to focus on anyone else) so seeing him as a bubbly and loveable character really was a nice change of scenery from two star-crossed lovers and their angst. Reid was phenomenal in this role, because he could use the space around in really interesting ways, I don’t think I ever saw him not using his hands or being completely still! (Unless he had to, during that one particular part in the party scene in the Capulet’s’ manor.) to me, personally, this is a sign of an actor who definitely knows what they are doing on stage. My drama teacher often says for us to “never just stand there” – always do something, even if it’s little – It was never boring to see him excitedly moving about! It even made me want to join in! His facial expressions when his character had been stabbed made me feel the pain he must have been feeling, and it made me want to jump up and reassure him. I remember that he pulled the coat he was wearing around him as he did this, which made my feelings of wanting to help practically double. When studying the play in school, I wasn’t swayed by him dying, but when I saw it on stage after noting all of this, I wished it hadn’t happened at all. I adored the fact that many actors had an accent. I loved that Mercutio had a Scottish accent, as it seemed to maximise his bubbly and fun personality.
I particularly loved the modernised representation of certain characters such as the Nurse and the servant, Peter. They went from simple servants to someone who you could just tell had been angry to have been cut off, from rather bland to sassy and likeable . Every hip-swish and hand gesture was amazing and I’ll never forget them.
I loved the clothes that everyone wore especially the Nurse and Lady Capulet’s costumes. The pink tracksuit the Nurse wore (along with her fantastic accent) made me grin every time she appeared. A pink tracksuit like that was so much more enjoyable to see than a maid’s outfit! Lady Capulet’s costumes were great, too! I loved that in the very beginning fight scene she tried to use her high heel as a weapon! Her costumes especially in the party scene one was a lot more exciting than a corset and a dress with a thousand layers to it!
I loved the music that was played between and during scenes. The party scene at the Capulet’s’ was absolutely top, with a very infectious beat, I couldn’t help bobbing along with the characters. I don’t know the names of the tracks of the songs used, if I did, they’d be sitting in a playlist on my iPod labeled “Fab Romeo and Juliet tracks!!” Dubstep in a Shakespearean play? Loved it!
The set designed by Kenny Miller was outstanding! The modern posters and newspapers, which had been put up, and stripped/ripped down made the set really look like a modern street, which was fantastic for the street brawls! I loved the almost-jail-cell, which doubled as a coat wardrobe. It made me smile. It looked so interesting amidst the rest of the set. The air of mystery was thick and fantastic with that thrown in the mix as well as everything else. I dare to think how much effort was put into creating it and how long it must have taken. I didn’t even expect the top to lift up and reveal a balcony set. (Even though I should have known about it! I studied the play!).
I loved the play and the direction by Rachel O’Riordan, if I could see it again and again I would be very happy. Every character was loveable in their own unique way and each and every single one touched my heart and left a mark there I’ll never forget. The way the cast performed made it a masterpiece; I’ll never forget Romeo and Juliet at the Sherman Theatre.