“Don’t waste your love on someone who doesn’t value it” – Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet
Normally I’m not one who enjoys Shakespeare. Studying plays in school, all I remember is the near-impossible-to-understand-language, deaths on every page and then the dreaded essay at the end. No more needs to be said.
However when my brother began studying Romeo and Juliet for his English GCSE my parents decided that it may help him to see it in theatre. They gave me the choice, did I want to see a play or stay home revising for my A-level? Despite my history with Shakespeare, there was no question really – I was going to the Globe.
Even I have heard of Romeo and Juliet but to be honest the closest I’ve come to hearing the full story is by watching the Gnomeo and Juliet DVD, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Being in the Globe itself would also be an exciting experience because my previous encounter was a quick tour on a dreary autumn day years ago.
The short story is, it was fantastic!
The play itself was performed with a modern twist, with songs and dances as well as adult humour. The cast threw themselves into their roles, and suddenly Shakespearean English became commonplace to my ears. They sold Shakespeare to me. I particularly want to mention Golda Rosheuvel who played Mercutio because although not the main role, she captured the audience and got the biggest round of applause at the end. Her pure voice filled the theatre, stealing our hearts.
I was lucky enough to have a seat for the performance but I would really recommend buying a cushion – 3 hours sat on a wooden bench really isn’t very comfortable. We also had an excellent view of the stage, weren’t blinded by the sun, and we even had backs to the bench so if buying a ticket try to aim for the middle tier, row D.
What made the performance that bit more real was the adaptability of the actors. When a pigeon decided he wanted to steal the stage Romeo (Edward Hogg) merely cried out “for that is not a lark” (Juliet was trying to persuade him that the lark had not yet risen and brought morning). Furthermore the pigeon decided to leave just as Romeo declared he could never leave Juliet (Kirsty Bushell), so Romeo just looks at the audience and says with a smile “well he knows his cues”.
These actors and actresses may not be Hollywood greats nor household names, but they really captured my imagination with their performance. So make it your goal this year to see a play in theatre, large or small. It is a wonderful art form that needs to be better appreciated.