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RECOMMENDED: All Shakespeare in the Park stories
Verona is burning in director Rupert Goold's hectic, kinetic, cinematic Romeo and Juliet for the Royal Shakespeare Company—and I don't mean the plumes of fire that belch from an onstage grate. The citizens of that northern Italian city seem to be on the verge of internal combustion as well. Either as a result of homicidal enmity between rival houses or boiling young lust (or a deadly confluence of the two), everybody in town is running a high fever and spitting red-hot poetry. In the first five minutes of the play, words nearly ignite: A hapless Benvolio, caught in the middle of a street brawl, is lashed to a post and gagged with a gas-soaked rag that's almost set alight by the psychotic Tybalt. Given so much violence-begetting mayhem, how will love ever save the day?
Park Avenue Armory. By William Shakespeare. Dir. Rupert Goold. With ensemble cast. 3hrs 15mins. One intermission.