Romeo & Juliet ★★★ Creation Theatre (online) | May 12 - 23, 2021


Creation Theatre, directed by Natasha Rickman, is always inventive but here, with Romeo & Juliet, they don't quite hit their target. Before the streaming we are told that this is an immersive experience and throughout the play we are given options to click on as if we were deciding the destiny of the lovers, turning the play into a game show. Of course, we aren't actually affecting the outcome, but maybe we are missing scenes in the other options. The play begins on Zoom with a somewhat psychedelic buildup to the fateful meeting at the Capulets' party, but after the interval, the presentation moves to a website. Unfortunately, this approach didn't work for us although some of the images were beautiful. Adding extra lines from The Tempest and Macbeth doesn't help to clarify matters. On the positive side the performances are very good and would work well in a standard production. Kofi Dennis and Annabelle Terry have real passion as the lovers and speak beautifully; Dharmesh Patel (Mercutio) is, as ever, excellent and makes the most of the Queen Mab speech. I prefer my Nurse more earthy but Katy Stephens was good, as was Clare Humphrey's Sister Lauren. The show works best when Shakespeare is allowed to speak for himself. One must applaud the effort that has gone into this production, but, at a running time of over 2 hours, the pace sometimes flags and it isn't only Juliet asking “Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou?”

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.

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