Thursday, July 26, 2018

'Romeo and Juliet' by William Shakespeare

26 July 2018

Last weekend saw the start of the 2019 Milton Keynes International Festival. On Saturday afternoon we were at Fred Roche Gardens in central Milton Keynes to see an open-air production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ by the Handlebards. In a similar vein to the Pantaloons (reviewed here in August 2013 and August 2015) the Handlebards use a very broad, silly approach to open-air theatre – helping themselves to food from the audience’s picnics and coming out of character to comment on each other’s performances. The Handlebards take Shakespeare around the country on bicycles and make good use of bicycle bells throughout the performance. The four young female actors each play multiple parts (sometimes within the same scene) but they are extremely easy to follow. Despite the silliness the acting is very impressive and they maintain the integrity of the play, finding real emotion amongst the fun. In the programme they point out that Shakespeare’s legendary romance “centres around what is, essentially, a three-day fling between two Year 9 students” and Sian Eleanor Green and Lucy Green give Romeo and Juliet a touching earnestness alongside their incompetent naivety.

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