Romeo and Juliet (2015): Rose Theatre, Kingston
PrRomeo and Juliet (2015)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Audrey Brisson (Juliet); Sharon D. Clarke (Nurse); Joseph Drake (Romeo); Laura Elphinstone (Mercutio); Felix Hayes (Tybalt).
This production ran from 28 February - 21 March 2015.
"Cookson sets the drama in a time and place unspecified. Katie Sykes's set is a stark arrangement of raw wooden platforms and ladders; the costumes are contemporary - suits and ties for the older males, modish urban streetwear for the young blades, a tough/sexy combination of boots, miniskirt and biker jacket for Laura Elphinstone's gender-switched Mercutio....Cookson strips away characters with a free hand, reimainging the nurse's servant, Peter, as a comic Spaniard, Pedro, played by Javier Marzan as a direct descendant of Fawlty Towers' Manuel. The youth and freshness of this production, and strong performances, particularly from Maureen Beattie as Juliet's mother and Sharon D. Clarke as the nurse, makes it attractive and accessible. But fluctuating intelligibility, compounded by a tendency among some of the younger cast members to gabble, and a brutally truncated final scene render it a flawed pleasure." ~ Jane Shilling, Daily Telegraph, 6 March 2015
"The live soundtrack by Benji Bower is full of Giorgio Moroderish 1980s synth sounds. Katie Sykes's set, a series of wooden platforms and staircases, stands in front of a huge back wall that keeps changing colour. Together they help to establish a sense of bad dream for this fine ensemble to expand upon....In this vicious Verona, Sharon D. Clarke is a beacon of tenderness as a Nurse whose feelings are sometimes so strong that she has to sing her lines. There is fine support from Felix Hayes as hammer-wielding Tybalt, Christopher Bianchi as a sweet Friar Laurence and Daniel Ezra making an assured stage debut as Benvolio." ~ Dominic Maxwell, The Times, 6 March 2015
"The supporting characters shine, notably Laura Elphinstone's gender-swapped Mercutio. She brings a prickly, raw-nerved energy to the role that sparks long-familiar scenes into life. Sharon D. Clarke has a lot of fun with her worldly-wise Nurse, triggering the big laughs as she bosses everyone around." ~ Tom Wicker, Time Out London, 10 March 2015