Romeo and Juliet (2008): New Shakespeare Company, Open Air Theatre, London
PrRomeo and Juliet (2008)
CAST INCLUDED: Claire Benedict (Nurse); Laura Donnelly (Juliet); Ben Joiner (Tybalt); Oscar Pearce (Mercutio); Nicholas Shaw (Romeo).
This production ran from 9 June - 2 August 2008, according to Theatre Record. Production information from Theatre Record; may be incomplete.
"Fotini Dimou's costumes have an Italianate Fifties quality, the boys with sharp toed-brogues and greased quiffs, the girls in full skirts. Balletic knife fights, choreographed by Liam Steel, are fleetingly reminiscent of West Side Story. But much of the movement - in particular, at the gaudy commedia dell-arte-influenced masked ball where the lovers meet - looks clumsy. It doesn't add weight to verse that is too often thrown away, with an air of inconsequentiality, on the wind....It's left to Claire Benedict's knowing and amusingly insubordinate Nurse to supply the warmth and heart that the production on the whole lacks." ~ Sam Marlowe, The Times, 11 June 2008
"It doesn't matter how good a director's ideas are about a Shakespeare play, if he can't deliver consistently strong performances and audible, well-spoken verse, the enterprise is scuppered." ~ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, 11 June 2008
"Sheader is a gifted director whose work I have enjoyed in the past, but his first production as artistic director of the Regent's Park theatre is a strained effort that puts music, dance, and design first, Shakespeare last. Not a single player in the colourless cast speaks with purity, passion, or panache....Claire Benedict's Nurse slumps around in a pinny cawing and cackling, and, when Oscar Pearce's Mercutio illustrates 'the prick of noon' by placing her hand on his own, she squeals with delight; nor does she mind when he slaps her on hte rump. She takes umbrage only when he pinches her breasts, making automobile-horn noises....It might seem odd that, in this encounter with the rude boys, the Nurse wears a stylish gown and picture hat and is followed by a page staggering under a load of carrier bags, but no more so than the play's beginning with a slow-motion group grope (late Fellini, this)." ~ Rhoda Koenig, "These lovers leave a lot to be desired", Independent, 11 June 2008
"Sheader has looked for genuine teenagers as the doomed lovers but although Nicholas Shaw schoolboyish Romeo and Laura Donnelly's sweet Juliet, who adores Claire Benedict's typical scold of a nurse, look the parts, they do not act them, remaining polite strangers to passion, suffering and emotion." ~ Nicholas de Jongh, Evening Standard, 10 June 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 12
"David Shrubsole has composed a score which ranges from Brideshead Re-Revisited to the sort of Asian fusion mystic you find at Cirque du Soleil." ~ Quentin Letts, Daily Mail, 13 June 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 12
"Old stagers Claire Benedict as the Nurse and Richard O'Callaghan (who has played Friar Laurence in more productions than most of us have ever seen) show the way but to little result." ~ Ian Shuttleworth, Financial Times, 17 June 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 12
"What really lets it down is the acting. Aside from Laura Donnelly's appealing Juliet, and Claire Benedict's ribald nurse, there's nothing much to write home about." ~ Caroline McGinn, Time Out London, 19 June 2008, in Theatre Record 2008, Issue 12