Writer: William Shakespeare
Composer: Sandy Nuttgens
Director: Marcus Romer/Katie Posner
Reviewer: Jemma Crowston
Last night saw the timeless tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet come to life in a contemporary context at Curve, Leicester. The award-winning company Pilot Theatre returned to the city after the success of their production of Lord of the Flies in February 2009.
Their contemporary version of the classic love story sees the actors wearing everyday clothes but it uses the original text from Shakespeare but condensed to make the play more accessible. The stage props includes stunning visuals and the set, designed by Chloe Lamford (winner of Best Set design at the 2007 TMA awards) is filled with over 600 bunches of silk flowers to create a 21st century scene for the love story to take place.
Pilot Theatre’s production at Curve gave me a chance once again to tackle my deep-rooted fear of Shakespeare’s work. Following Filter’s Twelfth Night last year, I decided it was better to face my fears head on than hide away from a challenge. Like when watching a fast-paced show, I feel like I have to concentrate real hard when watching Shakespeare’s words spoken to be able to grasp their understanding.
The last time I read/watched this classic story was at school so seeing it performed in a professional theatre is a new experience for me which means I have no comparisons to draw it against. Although the cast were using the original text their mannerisms and playful charms had an air of modernity.
I was particularly taking aback by Chris Lindon’s performance as Mercutio as his boisterous presence was strong and at times refreshing to see against the narrative. The chemistry between Juliet (Rachel Spicer) and Romeo (Oliver Wilson) was beautiful. Despite having to concentrate on the spoken words I was mesmerised by the physical actions between the star-crossed lovers.
The infamous balcony scene was apt. Instead of a traditional tall structure on the stage, Pilot used a neon framed cube for the balcony and sloped stage flooring to represent the wall in which Romeo climbs up. As the two meet for the second time and declared their love and fascination for one another I sat their hoping it wouldn’t end but then Juliet’s nurse calls to her.
Unlike most theatre shows, this production includes a continuous cutting edge, specially-commissioned soundtrack by composer Sandy Nuttgens, which is available to download on iTunes. From the moment you’re sat in your seats waiting for the show to begin you hear a very eerie sound which builds up the atmosphere for the play which can be quite dark at times.
I’d recommend this play to anyone who, like me, finds Shakespeare a challenge because I’ll guarantee you’ll find some enjoyment through watching the eight talented actors portray a traditional story with modern twists.
Runs until Saturday March 12.