Wednesday, May 18, 2016

'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare

18 May 2016

It took 50 years for our local amateur theatre group, TADS, to pluck up the courage to perform a Shakespeare play. Now Shakespeare has become a regular part of their repertoire. After tackling the Bard for the first time in 2012, with a magnificent production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' (reviewed here in May 2012) and repeating the feat with 'Henry V' (reviewed here in July 2014), they have added a third Shakespearean triumph with Sue Sachon's production of 'Romeo and Juliet' which we saw at the TADS Theatre in Toddington last Saturday. This 'Romeo and Juliet' is set in modern day Verona (with a magnificent set designed by Andrew Naish and David Sachon). Some years ago we saw an open-air 'Romeo and Juliet' (reviewed here in August 2006) in which the Montagues and Capulets wore colour-coded football shirts with the characters' names on the back. In the TADS production the two families were identified by T-shirts showing their allegiance to rival gyms – which provided the justification for their interest in fencing. There was some impressive sword-play, with incredibly realistic fight scenes choreographed by Jon Sachon. The lead actors – Steve Loczy as Romeo (who was a great Lysander in TADS' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream') and Jenna Kay as Juliet – were excellent, but the show was almost stolen by Peter Carter-Brown's Mercutio. In the 2014 TADS production of 'Henry V' I said “Peter Carter-Brown's performance as the King would not have been out of place at the RSC. There is little comedy in 'Henry V' but Peter Carter-Brown showed a lightness of touch in the occasional comic moments to suggest it would be fascinating to see him tackle a Shakespeare comedy”. As Mercutio he gave a wonderfully physical comic performance, standing out in a universally strong cast. And I should give a special mention to Unami Tenga as Benvolio – a really impressive performance from a 19-year-old actor. I liked the idea of showing Romeo as an aspiring poet, constantly scribbling his romantic thoughts in a notebook. This gave an explanation, in this modern setting, for his poetic pronouncements as he rehearsed phrases he would then write down. It also provided the opportunity for his parents to discover the notebook by his body at the end of the play and begin to piece together what had happened to him from his writing. At nearly three and a half hours this was an immense undertaking for an amateur theatre group but TADS pulled it off impressively. Once again they made their Shakespeare production feel like a significant event in the history of the company.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home