Romeo & Juliet 2021 – Online
As the global pandemic continues to affect the way audiences access and interact with the arts, theatres are reimagining ways to bring their work to life for the digital stage. Romeo and Juliet 2021 is no exception: director Nick Evans and the team of creatives at Metcalfe Gordon Productions make use of CGI and green screen technology, having also safely blocked out scenes ahead of filming to ensure only a few cast and crew members would be working at one time to deliver realistic set design. While the virtual set does not replace the live experience, the engaging performances of this cast are captivating, directing attention away from any moments when the barriers become more obvious.
The pandemic has had a huge impact on countless aspects of daily life, forcing people to remain distant in order to protect communities and loved ones. Love is a central theme in Shakespeare’s play, a fact which director Nick Evans emphasises by placing the production in the near future when, in the time of coronavirus, the blossoming of new love takes on new meaning as desire intertwines with constant risk. Sam Tutty (Romeo) and Emily Redpath (Juliet) make the atmosphere of immediacy, fear, and desire palpable, but shine more brightly as individual performers than they do in response to one another.
In the modern context, the production is prefaced with glimpses of the protests, conflicts, and other political events taking place around the world, recognising that Shakespeare’s story remains relevant in modern times, and highlighting the problem of reducing historical conflicts to basic social divisions. Unfortunately, the important contemporary themes are barely referenced again later in the production. As such, though the performances are good, the motivations of the adaptation feel redundant.
Romeo & Juliet 2021 is available to livestream from 13th February until 27th February 2021. For further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for the production here: