Friday, May 01, 2009

Shakespeare's Globe

Not "yoof" but certainly youthful. Dominic Dromgoole's lively and imaginative Romeo and Juliet is the fourth under the Globe banner this century: Tim Carroll's wonderful version with Bette Bourne as Nurse, the 2007/2008 tour with its camper van and Friar doubling Nurse, and this year's Deutsche Bank fast and furious production for school audiences.

This is a much more thoughtful take on the play. Adetomiwa [Tommy] Edun is a slightly shy lover; his Etonian RP suits the verse wonderfully, and his take is fresh and naive. So too is Ellie Kendrick - typecast as a doomed teenager - as his Juliet. Lacking in confidence, but filled with wonder and rushing her words in the first flush of love.

The dark wood, deep-perspective set was impressive, with the ship's-rail-style balcony above the spiral stairs.It's true that some of the jokes [often cut, but not in this three-hours-plus production] are lame, but Dromgoole tackles them head-on. And he manages to get laughs from [Tom Stuart] Paris's first scene, too. Peter, who laughs at the bawdy of his betters, was encouraged to punctuate the "guestlist" - just the sort of clowning Shakespeare would have loathed ! Peter and the Nurse were obviously lesser beings, regional accents and all. The star-cross'd pair definitely top drawer. Nigel Hess's music, often used filmically, as in Juliet's imagining her future tomb, was beautiful, especially the close harmony quartet.

The fighting, also underscored with drums, managed to be both dirty and stylised.

Flight path and flash photography problems on Press Night did not seem to faze either the packed audience or the confident company, who joined, doomed lovers and the streetcrime victims included, in the traditional jig at the end.

some of these thoughts first appeared on the Evening Standard's discussion:

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