Shakespeare’s R and J

The play opens with four American boarding school boys preparing for the start of their day and we are then taken briefly through it, from church through their daily classes. This is done very effectively by having the cast sit on four boxes on the stage and moving around to denote each change of class. There is a large element of religion involved and the school is possibly catholic. Eventually, night arrives and when the boys are sent to bed, they decide, instead of sleeping, to perform a play, Romeo and Juliet.

The play is performed in verse very much as written, although it is probably slightly abbreviated. It is a very physical performance, and the four actors throw themselves and each other all around the small stage area, sometimes very near to the members of the audience sitting in the front row. The action never flags and the audience’s attention is never allowed to wander.

The members of the cast take the play very seriously and their performances are intense. The love scenes between Romeo and Juliet are played out with no embarrassment at all.

The production is interesting but I’m not certain how much more is added to the play by having an all-male cast. The intention is to show the boys rebelling against the oppressive forces in their lives, primarily school and religion, but it’s questionable whether it succeeds in doing this. However, it is still worth seeing as a new version of an old favourite.

Reviews by Alan Chorley

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★★★★

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★★★★

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★★★★

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The Blurb

C cubed. 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th August 11:00. (1h15)

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