Romeo and Juliet

I’m just back from seeing Patrick Stewart in Romeo and Juliet. He wasn’t actually starring in the play, just sitting a few rows ahead of me – I liked the chinese whispers that went around the audience when he was spotted. I was there with Mum and Dad, and happily they both seemed to enjoy the play. I didn’t, really. Mainly, I think, because it was done in the classic Shakespearean style of over-acting. Emoting every word and shouting and yelling and crying loudly and…I just find it over the top and irritating. The comedic characters – the nurse particularly – were played as bumbling and dimwitted almost to the point of slapstick, which isn’t at all to my tastes, and even Romeo himself came across as a whining teenager. I also didn’t empathise with any of the characters, other than maybe Benvolio.

It’s odd that I was disappointed as I really like the play itself! Still, there’s always something to be gained from any performance, and the interpretation, if not really my cup of tea, was at least interesting. And I did see Patrick Stewart 🙂 Coincidentally the Baz Luhrmann version of Romeo and Juliet arrived from my DVD rental club this weekend, so I’ll watch that and compare the two.

I was fascinated to see various actors from Much Ado About Nothing, which I saw a few weeks ago. I couldn’t imagine how you’d fit a schedule around actors starring in multiple performances occurring in the same month. Looking more closely at the programme reveals that in fact most of the actors are starring in the current performances of Much Ado, Romeo & Juliet and King John, but nothing else throughout the season. I guess that explains how the scheduling works, but it’s a hell of a workload!