My heart usually sinks when I see the words ‘new interpretation’ or ‘re-imagined’ applied to productions of Shakespeare plays in Edinburgh. It is with both relief and some joy that I commend this shortened version of the world’s most famous love story as presented by the young students from Framlingham College.

The stage is dominated by a huge bed, which is used ingeniously, not only as a playing platform, but for inventive entrances, exits and reveals. Inventively, the play begins at the end, with the star-crossed lovers already dead (or asleep and dreaming, I wasn’t quite sure). They are then brought to life as human puppets so as to enact their tragic suicides. Thence we move back to the beginning of the play and follow the build up to the eventual marriage and the one night of love making Shakespeare allows this young pair.

In the hands of older students or adult professionals all the above may well have come across as pretentious. This company, however, are so committed to their version and it’s performed with such high octane energy and a slightly piss-taking wink to the audience (Mercutio is killed with a toy light sabre), that it’s impossible not to enjoy. There is some terrific physical work by the cast, both acrobatically on and around the bed, and in more symbolic dance routines. As one might expect with such young, untrained performers, the verse speaking wasn’t great, but they made up for it with commitment and passion.

When the end comes (after a pacey 50 minutes) it is a surprise – no mean feat with such a famous play. I do wonder, as always with severely cut versions of these great plays, how much an audience unfamiliar with the original will understand a new script like this. Tybalt’s ill-fated challenge to Romeo seems to come out of nowhere, and there is no mention at all of the ancient feud that means these two lovers are destined to end up dead. Indeed, without the presence of adult actors, or even young actors presenting adult characters, the play is robbed of one of its key dimensions. Although generally perceived as a tragic tale of young love, Romeo and Juliet is actually specifically about the power of young love played out against the background of an adult world laced with hatred and violence.

This performance is well worth the short trip into New Town, if only to marvel at the spirit and passion of young people that the play itself was written to celebrate over four hundred years ago.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Romeo and Juliet. This is an exciting, vibrant, fun interpretation of the play. We present Shakespeare’s classic love story as a tragicomedy that is ultimately a celebration of life.

Most Popular See More

The Phantom of the Opera

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets