Romeo and Juliet
Revival of the play by
"This spectacular and fast-paced production brings together the romance, passion and violence of the hot streets of Verona in the beautiful grounds of King's College.
Don´t leave Cambridge without seeing this dazzling production!"
Liam Webster plays a rather bubbly Romeo, who, in this interpretation, is actually a bit of a lad. His jocular scenes, bantering about with the steady Benvolio (George Collie) and the rash Mercutio (Alexander Pankhurst) are some of the best, and he nails lovesick: giddy, puppyish and whirling round the crowd overcome by the girlish, bright eyed Juliet (Beth Lilly).
The first half is light and funny: the balcony scene falls into the realm of comic sketch as Juliet brushes her teeth and spits, juxtaposed by Romeo hyped up and blinded by love in the garden below; Juliet’s buxom nurse (Emma Sylvester) gives Mercutio a run for his money in sauciness and lines are skewed and double-edged, eyebrows raised dramatically at the audience and laughter awkwardly concocted. It’s silly but it works, illuminating the fact they really do fall in love ever so quickly that pair.
Undoubtedly pacy – the muddle of confrontations, secret nuptials, poisonous vials and cruel luck swiftly shatter what might have been – at times things are more hurried than urgent, and the final act teeters on moving but lacks the emotional punch needed to leave you tear-strewn and wobbly.
However, Pankhurst’s Mercutio is magnificent. He rakishly stalks the stage, biting out the lines and effortlessly capturing nuance (as well as laughs), so, when he yells: “A plague on both your houses,” it catches tumultuously in his throat, the pain, anger and disbelief filtering into the hazy dusk.
Ian Pink also cuts a pointed, frustrated dash as Tybalt, while Stephanie Merulla’s Friar Laurence brings gravity and reason.
Fun, lively and littered with moments that border on fantastic, the setting is perfect, the performance just shy of wonderful and the picnicking pretty amazing.