Saturday, 20 May 2017

Theatre 2017: Review Eighteen - Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Globe, London. May 2017.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. From the sublime The Ferryman in the afternoon to this... It will be clear to regular readers that The Globe is one of my favourite theatres and that I am rarely disappointed by what I see there.  I've even tried to stick up for the decisions in direction made by Emma Rice over the past 18 months - I'm not against modern innovations in the traditional spaces - last year's Two Gentlemen of Verona was a great watch with lights and pop music. But this was just awful.

I don't really want to write about this show. I am all for exploring what you can do with a text but I'm really not sure that semi naked dancers with nipple tassels, a man pretending to be a dog, women giving birth to coffins and a radical re-write to the ending was just all too much for me.

My other niggle is with the Globe itself - this production used strobe lighting and at no point did I see any warning for this.  I was lucky that this time I was able to shut my eyes and not end up unwell watching this but the same wouldn't have been true if I'd come with my mum. The Globe say they do warn about the lights and to some extent this is true - it is mentioned on their website and in the email they send out before a performance BUT in small text buried in other information. You do not expect this style of lighting at the Globe and strobe lights are a real health issue so this should be made much clearer - big letters on the top of the webpage, signs on the wooden doors before you enter the theatre...

I hate writing a hatchet job like this, especially for one of my favourite places and especially after seeing the wonderful Nell Gwynn just a few days before but I am now very nervous about the rest of the season.

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