Romeo and Juliet (review)

Romeo and Juliet (review)
Romeo and Juliet (review)
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THE PLAY: Shakespeare’s classic about young lovers torn apart by their family feud.

 

THE PRODUCTION: Dr. Jan Powell (who’s responsible for the concept) and James Ricks (who directed) chose to present a relatively straightforward interpretation with no gimmicky concepts. As a result, Ricks fills the first act with a vivacious cast that bounds about the stage: shouting, flexing and fighting (zealous swordplay by Aaron Orensky). Act Two plays up the tragic elements with lots of tears and anguish. In the titular roles, Nate Ritsema and Liz Earnest are sweet when things are going well, but their tragic turn lacks punch. The rest of the cast is adequate with notable performances from a fiery Matt Shofner (Mercutio), an amusing Melissa Johnston Price  (Nurse) and a solid Bo Wilson (Friar Lawrence). Reed West’s design features swags of fabric and one set piece (primarily for the inevitable balcony) with a hint of Italianate style. It looks like a poorly painted leftover from a high school production. Cora Delbridge’s costumes are a hybrid of modern garments with effusive period flourishes. This intentionally eclectic approach often felt jumbled without any clear point of view. Running time: 2:35 NOTE: Evening shows are at 7:30.

 

THE POINT: While this production is competently mounted, it never ignites the fervor that would have given the play dramatic power.

 

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

 

A Quill Theatre production at the VMFA’s Leslie Cheek Theater thru 4/22

 

Photos by Aaron Sutten

 

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