ROMEO OG JULIE: A PUPPET SHOW
at the British Library
One of the quirkier events accompanying the BL's Blockbuster Shakespeare in Ten Acts exhibition, this one-man show – aimed at youngsters, who were in the minority when I saw its first performance – finds a botanist monk [Olaf Hojgaard] in his potting shed, using cleverly adapted gardening implements to tell the Romeo and Juliet story.
In truth, the concept was more entertaining than the show, but it happily sustained our interest for forty minutes. Presented by Danish company HamletScenen, it has no words, but a music track with a few nods to Prokofiev.
The staging is ingenious – the two households are brooms and shovels – there's bawdiness and a bal masqué, a balcony scene – though the lovers don't meet till more than halfway through – and some really moving moments: the last glance back to the Montague toolshed, Tybalt's death, Capel's monument and the six crosses and one rose plucked from the herb garden.
“Oh, mickle is the powerful grace that lies
In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities.”