- Kate Herbert
- From: Herald Sun
- August 12, 2011 11:56AM
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Romeo and Juliet, Bell Shakespeare, August 12, 2011
Romeo and Juliet, Bell Shakespeare ***
ROMEO AND JULIET, Bell Shakespeare, National Theatre, St Kilda. Touring. bellshakespeare.com.au
BELL Shakespeare's production of Romeo and Juliet is adroitly edited to 90 minutes and specifically tailored to engage wriggly, high-school audiences with its sassy romance about two adolescents split by a family feud.
Director Damien Ryan sets the play in the 1950s, in a location that is a blend of a village in Italy and a small town in country Australia.
The characters play, sing Italian peasant songs, dance and brawl in a pit filled with red Mallee sand, while overhead clothes dry on washing lines reminiscent of those in Italian alleyways.
Some of the cast are pushing it vocally and are sometimes inaudible in a big theatre, and some songs are not connected to the text or Shakespeare's imagery.
But this is a fun, accessible and youthful production that is ideal for those new to Shakespeare and obsessed with love.
Star rating: ***