Romeo & Juliet ★★★★ Metcalfe Gordon Productions (online) | Until February 27, 2021


Creativity and imagination have really come to the fore during this pandemic which has allowed Nick Evans and his team to produce this fascinatingly clever version of Romeo & Juliet. One would never guess that none of the performers were actually on stage together. Beginning in a theatre auditorium, the ingenious production designs by Jamie Osborne give us a series of realistic locations climaxing in an extremely beautiful crypt. Standing head and shoulders over the show is Sam Tutty's Romeo. Initially smitten with fair Rosaline, our hero's fickle eye soon migrates to Emily Redpath's pretty Juliet, and Tutty doesn't put a foot wrong as the young lover. He speaks the lines immaculately and his stillness often helps build the tension. This is definitely an outstanding performance of a role which can be difficult to pull off. Lucy Tregear's sympathetic Nurse and Helen Anker's Capulet together with Vinta Morgan's Friar Laurence bring gravitas to the smaller roles. Derek Jacobi puts in a beautifully spoken, if brief, guest appearance as the Chorus. Occasionally the pace slackens a little, but generally the action speeds along. Modern dress emphasises the gang culture we regrettably live in; the deaths, devastating as they are, seem simply part of modern life. Even the reference to a plague preventing the message from reaching Romeo resonates. For all its technical wizardry, this excellent production remains true to traditional values of a good story well told; one should simply sit back and listen – “how silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night”.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Ryan Metcalfe.

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