EFR - Reviews of Romeo And Juliet

Romeo And Juliet

Sat 4th – Tue 7th August 2012

reviews

Joel Singer

at 08:09 on 6th Aug 2012

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3disagrees

Set in a high-ceilinged space at the back of the Camino cafe, this rendition of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' falls unfortunately flat. Though held back by poor acoustics, while understandably unhelpful, this cannot be blamed for a show riddled with fundamental errors. Lack of ennunciation and the wooden performances make the show almost impossible to enjoy. The free fringe is a space for original ideas and concepts that are a little too eccentric for the main festival to flourish. Unfortunately, this show is an example of neither an innovative adaptation nor a well-executed reproduction.

The all-important chemistry between the “star-crossed lovers” seemed somewhat forced and undoubtedly could have profited from more time working in each other’s company. In fact, the whole performance, albeit their debut fringe performance, felt unrehearsed and could have benefited from more time to iron out the rather obvious flaws. The cast, especially the character of the Friar, were wooden and monotonous in their delivery and their on-stage reactions and stage deaths seemed unnecessarily melodramatic. Consequently, this meant that the two most vital elements of the play were not successfully executed - namely the comic relief (often in the form of bawdy puns) and pathos for the doomed and tragic lovers. The nurse, whose lewd jokes were given in monotone, and Juliet, who provoked very little in terms of emotional attachment, were especially to blame.

On the other hand, this show does warrant a star, in the form of Romeo, who was particularly impressive and was the shining star of the cast, providing a solid and thoroughly watchable performance. Equally, the authentic Elizabethan dress was professional and seemed to fit the aim of a faithful reproduction well.

Due to the sheer saturation of this play, a performance of it must be no less than outstanding. Unfortunately, this performance did not succeed in that and the amateur feel to the show, ranging from clumsy choreography to wooden acting, made it a play that one can certainly afford to miss.

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Davina Moss

at 08:55 on 6th Aug 2012

0agrees

3disagrees

Tucked away in the north of the city at Cafe Camino, students of the University of Central Lancashire have chosen to stage a period Romeo and Juliet, complete with gorgeous authentic costumes and nasty-looking prop swords.

I wish it were an overstatement to say that this production epitomises why so many youngsters say they hate Shakespeare. This production is long, dreary, un-engaging and melodramatic. Staged with nothing more than a prop balcony and pair of chairs,this production saw the actors breaking cardinal stage rules as they stood in lines and constantly attempted to upstage one another. Most scenes – other than some truly unfortunate stage combat sequences – simply look undirected, as if the actors had been given their lines moments before going onstage. In scenes with a large number of actors, words were often drowned out by the shuffling of feet, as if it were uncomfortable children, not adults, onstage.

While the high-ceilings of this cavernous space were, admittedly, no friend to the actor, the play would have improved immeasurably if the cast had managed to project and enunciate more. As it was, the majority of them muttered and swallowed their words, and even when we could hear them they were often delivered in a monotone. Hearing “I am slain” and the bawdier lines of the Nurse recited as if there were no difference in meaning was such a lost opportunity. And speaking of bawdiness, whoever made the directorial decision to suck all the comedy and lewd humour from the play most certainly did not improve things for the audience, who could have done with the comic relief. If there was a particular perspective or interpretation in here, this reviewer, sadly, could not find it.

But there’s light in this dark tunnel. Not only were the costumes delightful but the show’s Romeo (Ben Smith) has a real charm and consistently showed that he had thought through his lines and delivered them with some consideration. Other characters had occasional flashes of skill – Lord Montague’s (Alex Clarke) threatening of his daughter packed some punch, and even a flat and insipid Juliet (Grace Scott) managed an admirable death scene. However none of this could truly save this unfortunate production of the Bard.

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