paperback romeo

Villa-fan Romeo, played by Shaun Hartman, and his Juliet, played by Abigail Greenwood travelling on "the fearful passage of their death-mark’d love" in Paperback Theatre's socially distanced comedy tragedy

Romeo and Juliet

Little but Live Festival

Moseley Park and Pool


Birmingham’s very own Paperback Theatre Company conducted the Bard in Moseley Park at the weekend, with the classic tale of our two young star-cross’d lovers. Romeo and Juliet, for a brand new socially distanced festival Little but Live.

As Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline drifted over the historic park and fish nibbled chunks of bread, it was obvious that this was going to be a unique telling of the classic tragedy full of Covid twists and masked turns.

Even the lyrics Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you that we’ve all belted out at some past occasion before socially distanced became part of the lexicon, goes against the times we now live in.

Pre-lockdown, seven months ago to be exact, I ventured out to the theatre for BRB’s First Steps Swan Lake at Birmingham Hippodrome over February half term, never imagining the world we would now be living in viewed over the top of a facemask and slathered in hand gel.

Post-lockdown it was joyous to be finally be back to the theatre, be it only an hour, sitting outside on the grass with the sun shining down, marvelling at the focal point for all the action the Chapel of Many designed by architect Sebastian Hicks and donated by Coventry Cathedral.

Romeo, Shaun Hartman, avid Villa supporter, first sets eyes on Juliet, Abigail Greenwood, flame-haired temptress, as they bust some moves to Steps in a nightclub. “My rodeo Romeo, A cowboy god from head to toe, ‘wanna’ make you mine, better get in line 5,6,7,8.” The poignant lyrics then lead to mixed households and dangerous liaisons under balconies.

The cast of four includes Juliet’s booze hound father George Attwell Gerhards, also co-director, and ukulele playing Charis McRoberts oozing charisma and humour to this historical hiccup of miscommunication and fatal errors.

Bruno Mars couldn’t have said it more eloquently when he sung “Hey baby, I think I ‘wanna’ marry you.”

The festival not only delivered outdoor Shakespeare directed by Lucy Bird but stand-up comedy, exercise classes, music from The Reggaelators and Dohl drumming. All tickets for all the events were kept at a very reasonable £5 to cover basic costs but we are all extremely appreciative of the staff and artists volunteering their time to create this successful venture in these uncertain times for the arts. There is a Crowdfunder set up for donations to support Little but Live on the Paperback Company Facebook Page or go to

Paperback Theatre are currently rescheduling their 2020 tour of Me and My Doll which was cancelled along with most productions due to the outbreak of Covid-19 so new dates will be coming soon for 2021. For more information go to

The show must go on!

Emma Trimble


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