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Review: Books, Theatre, Albums, Movies and Gigs

Romeo & Juliet

Liverpool Playhouse Theatre
Tuesday April 8, 2008

Director: Barrie Rutter
Producer: Northern Broadsides
Cast Includes: Benedict Fogarty, Sarah Ridgeway, Barrie Rutter, Chris Pearse, Fine Time Fontayne, Peter Toon, Sue McCormick, Thomas Dyer Blake, Chris Nyak

Running Time: 2hrs 50

Image: Romeo and Juliet promotional image

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

On a sparse set decorated by a central dais, a sweeping open staircase leading to a balcony, three bins and five white drapes hanging, tied, at the rear, this production of Romeo & Juliet was nothing if not entertaining and delivered with a lightness of touch that is almost guaranteed to have gone down well in Elizabethan England as well as it did in Twenty-first century Liverpool.

The role of Romeo was carried off in an exemplary manner by the young Ben Fogarty, who threw his all into the easy-going side of the character, delivering his lines with an emotional passion that is equalled only by his energy when asked. The modern day costumes only served to add to the aura of his being a bit of a Jack-the Lad, until he of course becomes smitten with Juliet and things start to go suddenly, and fatally, very wrong indeed.

Sarah Ridgeway, after something of a quiet start, grew steadily into her Juliet, commanding the stage when necessary and taking on a more impish interpretation of the young girl, doomed by fate and circumstance, at other times. Clearly, these are two talents in the making that need to be kept an eye on.

Excellent too, Peter Toon who lit up the stage as a swaggering, bawdy Mercutio that simply commanded attention whenever on stage, Chris Pearse as a dour and brooding Tybalt who’s scowls and general demeanour make him an ideal candidate for Pantomime villain roles across the land, and Sue McCormick who’s “Patsy Byrne” style of playing Juliet’s nurse was great fun and a delight to watch.

Striking a balance between the comedy and the poignancy of the work is an art in itself and Barrie Rutter and the Northern Broadsides team have certainly done that here. Even to the extent that the obligatory NB Clog Dance slotted in nicely with the events. Not classic R & J, maybe, but certainly an entertaining and passionate night out that has a great deal of warmth and style.

Tour Dates:
7 – 12 April
Liverpool Playhouse
0151 709 4776

15 – 19 April
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
01723 370541

22 – 26 April
Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames
0871 230 1552

29 April – 3 May
Georgian Theatre Richmond
01748 825 252

6 – 10 May
Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
01284 769505

14 – 17 May
The Mart Theatre, Skipton
01756 791411

22 – 24 May
Buxton Opera House
0845 127 2190

27 – 31 May
The Viaduct, Halifax
01422 255 266

3 – 7 June
The Lowry, Salford
0870 787 5790

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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