Romeo and Juliet Review: the classic play comes to the Gulbenkian with a twist


Website Culture Editor, Natalie Turco-Williams, saw one of the greatest love stories take the Gulbenkian stage this week, but did Custom/Practice and Corn Exchange Newberry’s production of Romeo and Juliet spark some romance…

Romeo wherefore art thou…Romeo? Certainly not at this production. The masculine, heart throb audiences have grown to love was recast as a mere boy in this adaptation, which although was accurate to the times missed the mark.

Blair-Mangat’s boyish charm as Romeo was quite sweet at times but seemed lost in the flouncy feminine choreography he was given and when set against his male Montague counter parts made him lose what should have been a powerful and passionate lead to Mercutio.

David North marvelled as the cheeky and manly Mercutio. With his hot choreography, luscious articulation of the Bard’s iconic prose and his rock star ensemble – he was definitely a crowd pleaser and a fresh change from the tender men of House Montague.

Another crowd pleaser was Juliet played by Remmie Milner. Milner’s acting was incredible as the fair Juliet, with every word and action in synchronous, flowing as she moved from one emotion to the next. The only thing that let her down was her Micky Mouse hairstyle, which was lost in the styling of her character.

Rae McKen’s direction for the female cast was brilliant, especially going against theatre tradition by casting Naomi Heffernan as the Prince. The reverse-gender casting was a really good choice and Hefferernan certainly didn’t lack any authority as she royally dominated the stage with her presence, which was incredible.

The show’s take on Romeo and Juliet was meant to be through contemporary street dance but as a whole it lacked on the dancing – the best dance scene was at the end (when everyone had died) and the cast started break dancing. In the first act of the show the dancing seemed really promising and was quite dramatic – even giving me goose bumps in the scene when Romeo and Juliet first meet but as the play went on the dancing just turned into characters talking whilst jumping around and across the stage.

Without the dance scene at the end, the second act was just like watching your classic production of Romeo and Juliet. It was a real shame there wasn’t consistency because if there were, the production would have been amazing. In general, consistency seemed to be a big problem for this production as the costumes were also quite confusing. Romeo and Benvolio were dressed in the classic Elizabethean look of maroon baggy trousers with a lose white shirt and a waist coat but the rest of the cast were fitted out in a cool and quite modern take on the era’s fashion, which made Romeo and Benvolio look out of place and ridiculous.

It was a great concept to bring Shakespeare and contemporary dance together but this production just didn’t work.






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