Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Review: Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare at Nottingham Playhouse

Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Location: Nottingham Playhouse
Date: Thursday 15th March 2012
Seats: Stalls Left, Second Row
Director: Robert Icke
Theatre Company: Headlong Theatre Company in association with Hull Truck.

Main Cast
Romeo - Daniel Boyd (husband material. fyi Di Caprio. Run for your money much.)
Juliet - Catrin Stewart (suave and beautiful like a kitten.)
Mercutio- Tom Mothersdale (not husband material, but shotgun wedding in urban outfitters then mad sex in a lift material.)
Capulet- Keith Bartlett (i knew i recognised him from Silent Witness.)
Lady Capulet- Caroline Faber (does the aviva life insurance ad with the ghost dad. She hits every spot as Lady Capulet.)
Benvolio- Danny Kirrane (he's fab and I want to hug him.)
Nurse- Brigid Zengeni (she's the best.)

Finally got round to reviewing this, my life's a load of balls, but that's
 I'll write a melodramtic poem about it.
 Right, so. R&J

It is well documented that I am queen of panic attacks; panic attacks good and panic attacks bad, but never have I had a panic attack in the stalls. It wasn't altogether unpleasant, and was the result of this production making me realise what theatre making, particuarly in relation to Shakespeare, is all about. Cliche cliche cliche. Cliche. Sorry my cliche alarm went spastic when I tried to sum up centuries of theatre making in one production. Perhaps I am overexaggerating, and perhaps the boys were a wee bit too enticing, but at the very large and unattractive risk of sounding sycophantic, this was the best thing I've ever seen on a stage. Even better than Alex Turner.

And we know how I feel about Alex Turner.

Now, I'm not a generic theatre reviewer, I'm a virgin at this, I don't work for Time Out, and I highly doubt that anybody is reading this, so I'll review away in 'the oh-my-by-the-way' slapdash sexed up manner that you never see in professional journalism. Except when The Guardian think they're being funny. (Three Little Pigs advert anybody?) Anyway. This production simply did not put a toenail wrong. It took R&J and made it relevant without setting in in Tower Hamlets (or God forbid Bristol รก la Skins) which is what everything seems to do nowadays in a desperate attempt to appear appenin'. I have never seen such subtlety of set, artistic direction and acting work so...subtley. This R&J didn't try to hard, it didn't scream Baz Luhrman, (and it didn't headbutt him out of the way either), and it was more alive than an alive thing at a conference of the living.

The first half was successfully transformed from 'the tedious prelude to the meaty bit' (the shagging and killing) to a work of comic brilliance. This is mainly down to the youth and nuances in the way the cast delivered their lines; tiny movements, impeccable timing and the best handling of blank verse I have ever seen.

And as I said to Mercutio and Juliet, i.e. Tom Mothersdale and Catrin Stewart when we was avvin-a-fag afterwards dahling... (yes check me, and yes I was babbling like the proverbial groupie tit)...

all over the RSC.

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