Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe
Romeo and Juliet. A tale we all know too well. This is the dilemma any director faces when tackling one of Shakespeare’s behemoths: how do you take something so well known and make it new and exciting for the audience? Daniel Kramer’s production is a Shakespearean journey that smashes down linguistic barriers and not only reinvents this literary classic, but revolutionises the meaning of the word “adaptation”.
Our story begins at the birth of our two protagonists, and immediately the audience is thrust into the feud between the two families (Montagues and Capulets). In these separate households violence rules, and this is a running theme throughout this dark journey. It is evident from the start that the director wished to embrace the darker elements present in Romeo and Juliet, something that has been lost over time. Themes such as the grotesque glamorisation and numbing of violence, gruesome deaths and sex have all become aesthetically acceptable in the 21st century, and Shakespeare’s Globe holds no restraints when taking advantage of this. The play contains a large number of sequences, encompassed with rage and aggression, that follow the original script, and this, accompanied by a unique Gothic wardrobe, builds an intensity in the air.
One aspect that particularly adds a darker and grittier shadow to this production is the genres of music chosen and their use. Throughout the five acts a dynamic mix of classical and modern sounds are played. These accompany the dialogue perfectly, ultimately building to the final climax, which is quite simply breathtakingly beautiful. All things considered, given the depth and weight of the dialogue, this is a fantastic achievement.
The staging for the play is minimal, and instead there is a greater focus on the characters occupying as much of the performance space as possible. Rightly so, the theatre emphasises the importance of the literature and dialogue over scenery and effects. The language is easily digestible due to every cast member’s delivery, and particular credit must be given to both Edward Hogg (Romeo) and Kirsty Bushell (Juliet) for their sensational and entertaining executions of their respective roles. For Kramer, and Emma Rice, Romeo and Juliet can be labelled a spectacular success. The production exemplifies the brilliant work of Shakespeare’s Globe and highlights the elite professional talents of all involved.
Photo: Robert Workman
Romeo and Juliet is at Shakespeare’s Globe from the 22nd April until 9th July 2017, for further information or to book visit here.