Monday, June 24, 2013

Romeo & Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, arguably Shakespeare's most seen, most popular play, is a sure crowd-pleaser. While it is not among my absolute favorite of Shakespeare's plays (it makes my second tier), you have to respect it as one of the upper echelon in the canon. Having seen the ASC Touring Troupe's version of Romeo and Juliet three years ago, I was looking forward to seeing how this version would differ. Jim Warren's version of Romeo and Juliet keeps it pretty traditional, with a somewhat Westside Story feel to shake things up a bit, but it's pretty well in line with the touring troupe version and most versions I have seen on stage.  The comedy and the dirtiness is played up more in this production than most I have seen- a welcome change for me.
Tracie Thomason as Juliet and Dylan Paul as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Michael Bailey.

The show features an emotional, powerful turn by Tracie Thomason as Juliet, in possibly her greatest performance on the Blackfriars stage. Her Romeo is played capably by the talented Dylan Paul. One big takeaway I had from the performance was an epic, nearly show-stealing performance by Alli Glenzer as Friar Lawrence. Glenzer portrays a conflicted, guilt-wracked Holy man, haunted by his bad deeds in aiding the star crossed lovers.

In other stand-out turns, Ben Curns' performance takes the role of the Nurse to a starring level. He is extremely convincing in the role and totally makes you forget the role is played by a man. Greg Phelps' is fantastic in the much favored role of Mercutio and John Harrell is at his best as the snide and sinister Prince of Cats, Tybalt. Chris Johnston's Benvolio is also a favorite of mine in this production.

The production is capped with outstanding costumes by Erin M. West. If you are a fan of R&J, the ASC,  or a Virginia high school student, you should definitely see this production.

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