Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Youth Action Theatre
Hampton Hill Theatre - 15 November 2019
Review by Stephen Leslie
Youth Action Theatre last staged Romeo and Juliet at Hampton Court Theatre, over thirty five years ago, in a production which boasted the name of Rebecca Wheatley, who has gone on to enjoy a very successful career in television, radio and theatre. I feel certain that thirty five years from now we’ll be talking about the success of the amazingly talented actors in the current production.
I understand the decision to produce the show was taken back in August 2017 on the way home from a successful run at the Edinburgh Festival and during that time directors Emily Moss and Jojo Leppink seem to have methodically planned every detail of the production, providing their young cast with the perfect platform to deliver thoroughly entertaining and professional performances.
The contemporary setting was brilliantly framed by Alice Metcalf with a highly creative and original stage design. The juxtaposition of the Capulet’s car garage and the Montague’s portrait of traditional wealth, cleverly depicted the divide between the two families and in doing so provided the perfect back drop for the conflict which ensued.
Despite Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet circa 1594, the themes which run strongly through the story are as relevant today as they were then. Not only did we empathise with the characters, but we identified with them, helped more so by their present-day attire which included mechanic’s overalls and T-shirts displaying the names of musicians such as Bowie, Def Leppard and AC/DC. This was a master-class in bringing Shakespeare into the twenty-first century.
The conflict between the two families was highlighted almost immediately for full review:http://markaspen.com/2019/11/15/romeo-juliet-yat/
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