Romeo and Juliet

Trip Start Jul 06, 2008
Trip End Aug 04, 2008

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park had a spectacular, amazing, breathtaking, heartbreaking production of "Romeo and Juliet."  It was about three hours or so including the intermission and the park was closed by the end of it, so we had to walk a long way back to the car.  Nancy and I didn't get home till about midnight.  (We brought dark and milk chocolate bars that we split during intermission.  Yummy!)  Still, the late night was worth it, and while driving home we went by the London Central Mosque, and could see through the tall glass windows to the gigantic chandelier inside.

Since I've read the play, seen the 1968 version, and seen the 1996 version multiple times, the play was easy to understand.  It stuck pretty close to the actual script, but moved forward in time to (I'm guessing) around the 1980's or so.  They had knives, handguns, jeans, and bikes, but no cars were involved and the mail was still brought by hand.  They also incorporated live singing into the party scene, the wedding, and some of the death scenes.

First Act:
  The play opened with a cool dance-type sequence to music.  It involved the entire cast (nineteen members by my count) with Romeo and Juliet weaving their way through the mass of bodies to find each other and dance together.  Then it abruptly switched to a setup where many of the cast spoke the intro to the play.  The play began with one of my favorite scenes ("I do not bite my thumb at you, but I do bit my thumb.  Sir."), as it should.  It progressed, closely following the play.  The fight scenes were graceful and dance-like, using knives and threatening with guns.  I loved how Romeo asked of the fight:  he found a stray knife.  It was just so fluid, and one of the things Shakespeare leaves no instruction about.  The Porter (I forget his name Peter) was so funny, much funnier than the play reads out.  Benvolio and Romeo did a great job in the scene where they read out the guest list:  Benvolio was appropriately kind and Romeo was comedic when he heard Rosaline's name; he instantly started paying attention.  Mercutio's entrance and execution of his Queen Mab speech was perfect.  (He came through a window and climbed comically down the wall, then accented his speech with fitting body language that was both funny and crude.  It so fit his character.)  They included a scene with Tybalt and Juliet that showed their friendly relationship, which I thought was good to include.  The nurse was hilarious.  She would mention her daughter or husband in the midst of her rant, stop, take out a photo, and start saying things about them. =D  The Porter came dressed for the party in a dress; in the 1996 version that was Mercutio's job, hehe.  At the party scene they performed the strange dance sequence again, this time in the party costumes, and Romeo and Juliet finally meet.  Seeing as I've never liked that particular scene, it was performed well.  The balcony scene was pretty funny; I've never liked it much but at one point when Romeo was trying to leave he came out in the audience, and the two of them forgot what they were going to say and stood their staring at each other with adorable smiles on their faces.  It was both funny and sweet.  There was a funny scene with Friar Lawrence and Friar John at the beach.  When Nurse came to talk to Romeo, Mercutio, among other actions, called her an "ancient lady."  At the end of the scene, the Nurse tells the Porter to come along and he says, "Yes...ancient lady."   

Mercutio's death was played brilliantly and made me cry.  It was also quite comical, because that's how Mercutio is; he makes everything funny.  They used fake blood which surprised me. (After he got stabbed somehow his trousers had come undone and he wasn't bleeding.  He was trying to both fix his pants and start the bleeding at the same time, which was quite funny.)  Tybalt was violently slashed across the neck and the spurting blood put me in mind of Sweeney Todd.  Then the Prince came and banish-ed Romeo.  The end of the first act was perfect:  the Prince touched his kin's blood, then turned and ran to the door, slamming it angrily as the light's went out simultaniously.

Act Two:  In my opinion Act Two was not as good as Act One, but it's also not as funny and Mercutio isn't in it at all.  Here they changed the dialogue and scenes a little.  It opens with Romeo spazzing about being banish-ed.  However, they did a cool thing and put two scenes on at once: both Romeo and Friar Lawrence arguing and Juliet and the Nurse arguing were performed at once. (By at once I mean that their lines were split up and mixed in together even though they weren't interacting.  This was great for me because I really don't like Juliet's character and so having a break from her every few lines was awesome.)  The story progresses as usual, with Juliet upsetting her father, planning with the Friar, and being forced to implement their plan a day early.  Romeo stays banished, Benvolio (poor kid =/) tells Romeo that Juliet is dead and so Romeo plans his suicide, never getting the letter from the Friar.  

Here it starts to change:  Paris is not killed by Romeo.  I haven't seen any movie or play that actually kills him off, and it's a bit frustrating.  The ending was like the ending in the 1996 movie version, which I love to death.  This ending is so much more depressing than how Shakespeare wrote it:  Romeo takes the poison and just after, as he's just dying, Juliet wakes up and Romeo realizes his mistake.  Romeo "with a kiss" dies, and Juliet finds his handgun.  (Once I realized that it was going to be the uber depressing ending I wondered if they would use a gun or a knife.)  She shoots herself and a ton of red confetti explodes from the door accompanied by a very loud Bang!  The very end was the same, with the Friar explaining and Capulet and Montague making peace, and the company (minus Romeo and Juliet, piled on Juliet's funeral bier) perform the final...what do you call it?  Whatever it is..."For there never was a tale of more woe than of Juliet and her Romeo."

Big Differences:
- Time period
- Paris not killed off
- Romeo's and Juliet's deaths

Character Breakdown!
  Played by Nicholas Shaw.  Good acting, he didn't make the character seem annoying or anything, just sweet and a bit lovesick.

Juliet:  Played by Laura Donnelly.  Her acting was great, but I don't really like the character of Juliet.
Capulet and Lady Capulet / Montague and Lady Montague:  Played by Tim Woodward, Annette McLaughlin, David Whitworth, and Jennifer Bryden respectively.  Good acting for their lines considering they don't have many.

The Prince:  Played by Richard Cotton.  Good acting (I don't think there was any real bad acting in the play!).  Pulled off the authoratative figure quite while.

 <3 Played by Oscar Pearce.  You gotta love him.  He's rude, funny, crude, and fairly inappropriote, but he really cares about his friends.  Amazing acting.

Tybalt:  Played by Ben Joiner.  Decent acting, but the only Tybalt I actually like is Michael York's.

Benvolio:  <3  Played by Leon Williams.  My other favorite character.  He's so awkward and innocent but always tries to do the right thing, you just have to love him.  Good acting.

Nurse: <3 Played by Claire Benedict.  The Nurse has always been funny, and this was one of the best performances I've seen.  Amazing acting.

Porter Peter:  Played by Dale Superville.  I still don't know his technical name, but He did a great job. The comic relief character, funny and engaging.  Great acting.

Friar Lawrence:
  Played by Richard O'Callaghan.  Good acting.  Delivered all the ominous lines as he was supposed to and saved Romeo and Juliet killig themselves two days early.

Paris:  Played by Neet Mohan.  Not the best acting, but decent.  As much as I hate him and love to read him dead, his character has a lot of potential to make him creepy, and none of that potential was used.

Other Characters:  Played by Andy Cryer (Gregory), Matthew Hart (Sampson), Ben Ingles (Balthasar), Harry Myers(Friar John; he had a funny bit in the beach scene), Annalisa Rossi (Bianca; I think she was the singing one), and Marcello Walton (Abram / Apothecary).  They were good, considering most had one or two lines.  The woman who did most of the singing had a great voice (Lady Capulet did a little singing as well.)

- El Fin -

I come bearing photos! These I found online:

And these I took myself. (If you haven't figured it out by now, I liked it enough to want to see it again. =)  =(  Even with the mixed emotions...)




Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


travel4eternity on

As I learned maybe two days ago when I was looking up these actors to see how they've got on - Laura Donnelly was Freya in BBC's Merlin! I loved her in that. =)

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: