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    Photograph (C) Gary Calton

     

    Liverpool Everyman Theatre, Wednesday 31st May 2017

     

    Romeo and Juliet is a story that throughout the ages has been retold, performed and taught to generations of people across the globe. Performed by the Everyman Company and the Young Everyman Playhouse Group, this infamous tale has taken to the stage once more at the Everyman Theatre, in a production that is quite simply the masterpiece of our lifetime.

     

    In just over two hours, the audience are thrust into the city of Verona and are enthralled in an atmospheric interpretation of this classic story.

     

    Though the script remains the same, the Elizabethan settings of Verona are transferred to the 21st century. Where once there was Romeo and Juliet, instead there now stands Romeo and Julius, our star crossed lovers. Where once there was the Capulet’s ball, instead there is a Capulet gathering with neon clothing and pounding dance rhythms. It is a thought-provoking production, which signifies the importance of loving one another, regardless of where we are from and who we are. It reminds us that love is the most powerful language of all and that hatred only leads to further sadness.

     

    This poignant production is exceptionally directed by Nick Bagnall, whose vision channels through an exceptional cast. George Caple (Romeo) and Elliot Kingsley (Julius) are not only our star crossed lovers, but stars that shine brightly throughout the show. Their performance not only pulls your attention, but also at your heart. The duo’s onstage chemistry burns strongly like a flame from a candle; glowing stronger and stronger by the second. It’s easy to forget you are watching a play, as their portrayal of the characters engages you into a world that you feel is unfolding around you. Both Caple and Kingsley are incredible actors who are destined to be two of the country’s, if not the world’s, leading Shakespearean performers. They amazed me tonight and are sure to continue to captivate audiences in whatever roles they play for years to come.

     

    Joining them are actors from the Everyman Company, including Dean Nolan as the bold and witty Mercutio. His strong performance is matched by his boundless energy, while his dialogue with the brilliant Melanie La Barrie as Nurse results in a highly amusing scene during the first half of the show. All the actors deliver their lines with passion; playing with the words and delivering them as Shakespeare intended. Not a syllable is missed; each punctuated exactly to produce the desired effect, whether it be humour or feelings of sorrow.

     

    The cast is completed by the wonderful performers of the Young Everyman Playhouse Company, who light up the stage with every step and every word. They are truly some of the most incredible young actors I have ever seen, who are sure to be treading the boards in future Everyman and Playhouse productions in the future.

     

    As the chorus echoes “Have you ever fallen in love with someone…” thoughout the show (a very post-modern and quirky musical twist to the show), it can be said that audiences have fallen in love with the Everyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet. It is undoubtedly the theatrical masterpiece of the century and one that will forever remain in my memory.

     

    5 stars

     

    By Sarah O' Hara

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