romeo and juliet

Aruhan Galieva and Stuart Wilde as star-cross'd lovers Romeo and Juliet. Picture: Scott Rylander

Romeo and Juliet

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton


For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

William Shakespeare’s words bring to a close this timeless story of young lovers doomed through the senseless feuding of their Veronese families, but there was certainly no question of woe about the powerful and vibrant production from Watermill Theatre.

The young cast were simply bursting with enthusiasm and energy in a version of the story performed in modern dress and boosted by thoroughly enjoyable music played on stage at various points in the play by actors with three guitars, a banjo and drums.

It enhanced the story considerably and no doubt served as a comfort for some audience members who probably prefer to see the Bard’s work in a more traditional setting with costumes of the time.

The fight scenes were particularly well done, knives rather than swords used by rivals of the Capulet and Montague families in violent clashes which eventually led to Romeo being banished to Mantua, setting up the tragic climax.

Occasionally small sections of dialogue were lost to the audience, but overall the delivery was good and the action easy to follow.

Stuart Wilde and Aruhan Galieva were comfortable in the roles of Romeo and Juliet, and there was a particularly pleasing performance from Lauryn Redding as Nurse, and excellent contributions from Peter Dukes (Tybalt), Rebecca Lee (Friar Lawrence), Victoria Blunt (Benvolio), Offue Okegbe (Mercutio) and Emma McDonald (Lady Capulet).

Paul Hart’s direction kept the audience glued to the tale, Tom White’s lighting design made a strong impact, and full marks for the musical direction and arrangements by Ned Rudkins-Stow.

The company change plays to stage Twelfth Night on Thursday and Friday, 13-14 July

Paul Marston


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