Creation Theatre Company: Romeo and Juliet
If there was ever a testament to the universality of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it is the fact that that story remains as enveloping through the screen as it does on stage. In Creation Theatre Company’s heartily ambitious take on the beloved classic, the scene is not laid in fair Verona but rather on a Zoom meeting call (later switching to an interactive website). However, while the concept behind this Covid-friendly production is clear and intriguing, there are a few bumps in the road when it comes to its execution.
Creation Theatre’s work is always innovative and this is a clear example of just how much can be done with digital theatre, particularly during the pandemic. Blending live performance with pre-recorded segments in a “choose-your-own-adventure”-style narrative, it’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the show. The creativity is then only enhanced by strong performances from all 13 cast members, particularly in regards to the titular star-crossed lovers. Terry is passionate and tenacious as Juliet, while Kofi Dennis brings a youthful sincerity that is often lost in Romeo. In fact, the moments where Dennis alone occupies the “stage” are perhaps the most memorable.
With each performer (presumably) filming from a different location, their performances are overlaid and stitched together to create the impression that they occupy the same space. However, with much of their dialogue delivered to the audience (as opposed to each other), the pacing can, at times, feel slightly askew. While the production has been carefully (and skilfully) edited, filters are sometimes over-used in a way that interrupts the intensity of a moment. However, such technicalities do not take away from the fact that the result is both uniquely innovative and entertaining.
Directed by Natasha Rickman, Creation Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet attempts to drag the audience into the action more than ever before. From the first click of the mouse, wherein viewers must choose to align themselves with the house of Capulet or Montague, they are provided with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the story – perhaps even changing the fate of Juliet and her Romeo.
Creation Theatre Company: Romeo and Juliet is at from 12th May until 23rd May 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch a trailer for the production here: