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|Andrew Vincent||Prince Escalus|
|Holly Atkins||Lady Montague|
|Jack Farthing||Benvolio, Quartet|
|Graham Vick||Abraham, Chorus, Apothecary, Quartet|
|Fergal McElherron||Baltazar, Peter, Gregory, Chorus, Quartet|
|Miranda Foster||Lady Capulet|
|James Lailey||Sampson, Chorus, Friar John/Constable, Quartet|
|Rawiri Paratene||Friar Lawrence|
Posted October 1, 2010
Dromgoole's Romeo and Juliet is a highly entertaining production. The director makes great use of the large, visually attractive Globe Theatre stage with minimal use of props. Entrances and exits are seamless with subtle hints showing changes of venue (a glimpse of monks through windows at rear of stage indicates cloisters, and characters descending from above, the Capulet tomb).
The young lovers quickly captivate. The Romeo of Adetomiwa Edun is athletic and energetic, believable as a young man smitten instantly, discovering the difference between doting and truly loving. Ellie Kendrick's Juliet is a refreshingly innocent young girl whose moods change in an instant. Her interpretation of the "What's in a name . . ." speech is an unusual one, emphasizing the "in." She delivers her lines with feeling and an almost childlike quality, although occasionally I found her rapid somewhat breathy speech a little difficult to follow.
Other notable performances were Tom Stuart as Paris, who brought life to what can be a somewhat static character; Rawiri Paratene as an energetic Friar Lawrence; and Penny Layden as Nurse.
The long-standing conflict between the two families that always underlies the story of the lovers is well conveyed by the rash boldness of the young men on both sides. The fights, accompanied by extremely loud drums, take over the large stage, powerfully reminding the audience of the obstacles to the lovers' happiness. Mercutio (admirably performed by Philip Cumbus) and Benvolio as well as other minor character amuse the audience with their bawdy by-play, especially in the orchard scene. This is in direct contrast with the romantic balcony scene that follows.
Music enhances the production from the opening "Chorus," delivered in song, through the drums accompaniment to the fights, to the final song and dance performed by the whole company following the conclusion of the play. Throughout, the shifting moods of young love and sorrow are conveyed by soft music.
I was pleased to see a production that is true to Shakespeare's original text. It is longer than most filmed versions of the play, which - unlike the films of Zeffirelli (1968) and Luhrmann (1966) - does not focus on the physical aspect of love. This may be due to its being a filmed stage production. The presence of an audience is not as distracting as I feared.
Overall, this video was a delight to watch, visually appealing with an excellent cast. I highly recommend it.