This production is in repertory with Henry IV
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on March 7, 2012
A shorter review of R & J was published in Herald Sun on Friday, March 9, 2012
SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET, a classic tragedy of thwarted young love amidst two warring Veronese families gains fresh life in this all-female production, is ambitiously and imaginatively directed by Zoey Dawson.
Five exuberant, young women (Nikki Shiels, Naomi Rukavina, Devon Lang Wilton, Laura Maitland, Carolyn Butler), take turns as Romeo, the role change being deftly executed by the exchange of a blue, checked shirt.
Brigid Gallacher’s Juliet is compelling as we trace her trajectory from virginal innocence to budding womanhood as she confronts the adult world that offers only hatred and violence and ends in the most affecting moment of her painful, lonely death.
There is much to enjoy in this memorable, inventive production, from the simple set design (Zoe Rouse) which is restricted to Juliet’s childish, pink and white bedroom, to Dawson’s wise decision to judiciously adapt and edit, but not re-write Shakespeare’s original text.
Notable performances include the intense, muscular Rukavina as Romeo, The Friar and others, and Maitland who distinguishes herself as a fine comedienne and mistress of disguise in her depiction of Juliet’s doddery father.
The few negatives in this production include the rushing of lines that makes some dialogue unintelligible, and occasional chaotic, loosely directed scenes that resemble student productions.
This creative, energetic, often illuminating production is a worthy addition to the parade of interpretations of one of Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy.