Shakespeare in the Squares: Romeo and Juliet

Theatre, Outdoor theatres
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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This fun version of Shakespeare's romantic tragedy hits up some of London's prettiest green spots this summer

Braving British weather that’s liable to change as fast as Romeo dumps Rosaline for Juliet, Shakespeare in the Squares is back for its second summer: touring the Bard’s enduring romantic tragedy around nine of London’s garden squares.

Director Tatty Hennessy assistant directed on the Globe’s recent world tour of ‘Hamlet’. And there’s a distinctly Globe feel to her production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’, from the opening and closing dances to the clear, unpretentious storytelling.

There’s a fun, 1950s Verona vibe to the costumes and music (the cast play the instruments), as teenage rebel Romeo and Juliet embark on a doomed love affair with definitely the most famous ending in history.

Indigo Griffiths and Adam Strawford make for a refreshingly un-irritating pair of star-crossed lovers, sweeping us up in their initial, giddy enthusiasm. There’s also great work from Liz Marsh as Juliet’s nurse, somewhere between panto dame and the latest addition to Albert Square. I’d watch a spinoff.

This production’s breathless, knockabout tone works best for the play’s frothier first half. Things get a bit hammy after the interval – not helped by a couple of stiff performances. When events turn tragic, a few key scenes falter. There’s unintended humour in the wailing.

This ‘Romeo and Juliet’ doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but that’s not the point. To use a hackneyed expression sincerely, it’s family entertainment. Take a picnic, hope the sun is out and snoop around a few pretty bits of greenery you might ordinarily not get to see.

By: Tom Wicker

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