Last Thursday, my mum and I headed to Norwich Playhouse to see a new touring production of Romeo and Juliet.
Norwich Playhouse (and its wonderful bar) is one of my favourite spots in the city, and quite possibly my favourite auditorium in the country. It’s set out so that no seats have an obstructed view, and at an intimate 400 capacity, it always punches well above its weight in terms of programme.
This was the final of three Romeo and Juliet performances happening over two days at the Playhouse, and The Icarus Theatre should certainly be proud of an accomplished and very entertaining interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic. Although Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, this production has made excellent use of the play’s funner aspects, with classic 16th century euphemisms and other naughtiness in tow.
It’s perhaps a strange element for a literary-oriented lass like myself to fixate on, but the set design and lighting were a welcome focal point of the stage. With very few physical props and a minimalistic use of lighting, the outcome was tangible and quite beautiful. I really loved everything about the layout and logistics of this performance.
While the actors were generally well cast for their roles, the changeovers slick and the performance engaging, unfortunately I found myself left rather cold by Romeo and Juliet themselves. A lack of chemistry between the actors combined with obvious fake-kissing (hands in front of the face stuff) made for the kind of moments where you realise you’re watching people on a stage. Personally, I really like falling into a play and forgetting the outside world exists for a few hours…
That aside, this was an excellent take on a globally-renowned tale of true love and true loss, and a very enjoyable night out.
- Company: co-production between The Icarus Theatre and King’s Theatre, Southsea
- Running Length: 2 hours and 30 minutes including interval
- Credits: directed by Max Lewendel; full cast and crew list available here
- Other Dates: See here for a complete list of venues on this tour (includes both the UK and Ireland)
For more information about upcoming events at the brilliant Norwich Playhouse, have a look here.