Skip to content

FringeGuru

 
Romeo and Juliet
Published on Saturday, 11 August 2012
4

4 stars

theSpace on Niddry St (venue website)
Theatre
2-4, 6-11 Aug, 12:20pm-1:40pm
Reviewed by Lynsey Martenstyn

 Family-friendly. Suitable for all ages.
 Free and unticketed. No pre-booking required.

Shakespeare adaptations are the loyal migratory birds of the Fringe – dispersing in the winter, returning each August with a new and larger flock. This one is a female-only rendition of Romeo and Juliet, and is one of the stronger of the roost.

The adaptation follows the original story loyally, whilst adding its own distinct twist and bringing the tale into a modern setting. The plot follows Romeo and Juliet, young members of rival families the Montegues and Capulets, who fall in love – much to the disdain of their relatives. The play follows them as they attempt to fulfill their love and reconcile their families, with tragic results.

Playfully set in ‘Verona High’, the production focuses on the inter-gang rivalry of the well-to-do Capulets and the boisterous Montegues. Prince Escales, the Prince of Verona and Conflictor of the two families in Shakespeare’s version, is Principal Escales – the headteacher of the school. Other characters and elements of the play fit around the educational setting well. Different types of school uniform and clothes distinguish the gangs, the rival families have brawls in the playground and the backdrop is drawn onto a revolving chalkboard.

The production is perfect for introducing a teenage or younger audience to Shakespeare, and the dialogue is delivered with modern spectators in mind. Interaction with the audience ensures all keep attention during slower-paced scenes, while the best moments of the play revolve around the live music and physical pieces between Romeo and Juliet. Meanwhile Georgia Graham-Williams, who plays Mercutio, fills the role wonderfully and is a delight to watch.

Some of the acting within the production was not strong, though this was balanced by the talent of the stronger actors and the sizeable cast.  And occasionally, some actors blocked key scenes – such as the courting dance between Romeo and Juliet. The cast is admittedly large, but there were scenes which would have benefitted more actors offstage rather than distracting attention from focal moments in the play.

While the concept of setting Romeo and Juliet in a school isn’t the most original, it is done well and suits the young age of the large cast. However, there’s no reference as to why the all-female cast felt Romeo and Juliet could be performed without men. It simply felt as if the play had been chosen without considering that the company were performing one of the greatest love stories in Western history – a pity, since there was an opportunity here to make a serious point about the role of women in theatre.

Overall, as Shakespeare adaptations go, this will not disappoint. A combination of wonderful harmonies, live music and enthusiastic performances make for an entertaining rendition of Romeo and Juliet.

<< A Brief History of Scotla...   Pool of Blood >>

FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

Edinburgh 2012 Five Stars

5 stars Comedy
Totally Tom


5 stars Comedy
The Magical Adventures of Pete Heat


5 stars Theatre
Bye Bye World


5 stars Comedy
Barbershopera: The Three Musketeers


5 stars Comedy
Truth


5 stars Theatre
The House of Shadows


5 stars Cabaret
Briefs


5 stars Theatre
Made for Each Other - Free


5 stars Comedy
Tony Law: Nonsense Overdrive


5 stars Comedy
Ivo Graham and Liam Williams


5 stars Comedy
Hannibal Buress: Still Saying Stuff


5 stars Comedy
The Blanks' Big Break


5 stars Theatre
A Clockwork Orange


5 stars Comedy
Richard Wiseman: Psychobabble


5 stars Comedy
Martin Mor: A Man You Donít Meet Everyday


5 stars Theatre
1984


5 stars Comedy
Swedenborg, the Devil and Me


5 stars Theatre
The Trench


5 stars Theatre
Casablanca: The Gin Joint Cut


5 stars Theatre
Joyced!


5 stars Theatre
An Evening With Dementia


5 stars Comedy
Scott Agnew: Tales of the Sauna


5 stars Theatre
Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke


5 stars Comedy
Chris Ramsey: Feeling Lucky


5 stars Comedy
The Horne Section - Live at the Grand!


5 stars Theatre
How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found


5 stars Theatre
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle


5 stars Theatre
Songs of Lear


5 stars Cabaret
Jonny Woo: Wonder Woo-Man


5 stars Comedy
Josie Long: Romance and Adventure


5 stars Comedy
10 Films With My Dad


5 stars Theatre
4.48 Psychosis


5 stars Theatre
As You Like It


5 stars Theatre
Appointment With The Wicker Man


5 stars Comedy
Jessie Cave: Bookworm


5 stars Comedy
Morgan & West: Lying, Cheating Scoundrels


5 stars Theatre
Hearts on Fire


5 stars Theatre
Rainbow


5 stars Comedy
Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist


5 stars Comedy
Chris McCausland: Not Blind Enough


5 stars Theatre
Chatroom


5 stars Comedy
Peacock & Gamble Don't Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway


5 stars Theatre
I Heart Hamas: And Other Things I'm Afraid to Tell You


5 stars Comedy
John Robertson - The Dark Room - Free


5 stars Kids'
Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger