Romeo and Juliet (1995): Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
PrRomeo and Juliet (1995)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Ashley Artus (Tybalt); Stuart Bunce (Romeo); Sebastian Harcombe (Mercutio); Roberta Taylor (Nurse); Emily Woof (Juliet).
This production ran from 2 February - 11 March 1995 at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith and at 18 March - 29 April 1995 at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.
"Bartlett opens the play with the closing responses of the Mass, from which Woof's Juliet dutifully returns home, but not without casting a shrewd glance at the loitering males. Yet there is nothing tarty about her....Bartlett sets the play against a dark blue wall on an almost bare stage, where scenes overlap to give a sense of the tragedy's onward rush. As the lovers walk off to be married, Sebastian Harcombe's Mercutio, although in another part of town, strolls between them. Foreground action is highlighted against events beyond, although I could have done with fewer circuits from Souad Faress's Lady Capulet." ~ Jeremy Kingston, "Woof a young pup with snap and bite", The Times, 8 February 1995
"It is all done on a bare stripped set with the blue-painted back wall of the theatre visible. A bed is the only prop. The look of the show is borrowed from the Reservoir Dogs cult. Unhelpfully, all the young Veronese dudes look the same in their black suits and Ray Bans (making the point that the Montagues and Capulets are cut from the same cloth). All of them are clearly used to violence, their knuckledusters and designer knives at the ready." ~ Robert Gore-Langton, "Violence and Ray Bans in Verona", Daily Telegraph, 10 February 1995
"Further down the cast, minor characters - Mark Lacey's hot-blooded Benvolio, Roberta Taylor's world-weary Nurse, Gregor Truter's illiterate servant Peter - are startlingly revitalised, while major characters - Burt Caesar and Souad Faress as Capulets with severe personality failures - miss the mark." ~ Nick Curtis, "A dull romance", Evening Standard, 9 February 1995
"I loved Roberta Taylor's now traditional tart-with-a-heart Nurse - she has no truck with hospital corners - sharing a pre-coital ciggie with Juliet on her hospital bed. And Souad Faress's darting, anorexic Lady Capulet baying at Tybalt's death like a bloodhound deprived of pedigree Chum and, later, attempting artificial respiration on Juliet who, like this production, is too far gone to resuscitate." ~ Martin Spence, Midweek, 16 February 1995
"The senior Capulets come from different planets, she (Souad Faress) archly sophisticated and he (Burt Caesar) emitting his lines in military barks with a Caribbean accent, variously kindly, menacing or desperate by quite unaccountable terms." ~ David Murray, Financial Times, 9 February 1995
"Souad Faress is glamorous, but cool, as Juliet's mother, while Burt Caesar, as Capulet, is dignified, busy and remote." ~ Sarah Hemming, "Teenage kicks", Independent, 11 February 1995