Sunday, April 24, 2016


Brentwood Shakespeare Company 
at Brentwood Theatre

In fair Verona … Liz Calnan's Prologue exemplified three great strengths of this production.
Beautiful costumes, clarity of text and “two hours' traffick of the stage”.
Truth to tell, not quite everyone in the large cast was quite so well dressed, or spoke so clearly or intelligently. Two hours' traffick was achieved, thanks to deft editing.
More time might have been saved, perhaps, with cues picked up more deftly, and scenes dovetailed more snugly. Shakespeare wasn't able to have a blackout between scenes, and I always think he works best when you can't get a cigarette paper between the street and the bedchamber, say.
But these are small quibbles; June Fitzgerald' s production used the Brentwood stage effectively, with three doorways, and a clever balcony-cum-bedchamber. Plenty of room for the excellent sword-play, too.
Some fine performances: the star-cross'd lovers played by Ben Sylvester, a sympathetic Romeo making the verse sound powerful and natural, and Lisa Nunn as a child-like, innocent, impatient Juliet.
Richard Spong brought passion and insight to Mercutio, Matt Hudson made a compelling Benvolio, and there was a lovely, merry Nurse from Julia Stallard.
The death of Tybalt [Gareth Locke], and Paris's violent end [a fiery Andrew Spong] were both very effectively staged.
And the tragic dénouement had a wonderfully lit setting for Capel's monument – the shrouded Juliet in semblance of death, soon to be united on the tomb with her Romeo.

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