Review by Michael Campbell
The play opens in a unfamiliar scene as fair Verona has transported to Japan. The set being a back drop of mountains and forest ornately painted on 3 large fans. In the centre of the stage is a large white square which cleverly thought out the play becomes the focal point for all the main action save for the fight scenes. By a simple rearrangement that takes seconds to achieve the square changes from town square to Juliets room to the Friars cell to the roman baths to the crypt and back again. The costumes follow the Japanese theme although Romeo and Juliet are dressed more western style to enhance the different between them and the rest of the cast. For a younger or less knowledgeable audience this enables them to pick out their hero and heroine at the outset a point that is often lost by a theatre company who assume their audience know the play as well as they do.
The fight scenes were well thought out and unlike many fight scenes had an air of menace and real danger about them. Had someone actually been stabbed it would not have been a surprise.
Special mentions to John Golden as Tybalt and Ryan Truscott as Mercutio. From the second Tybalt walked on stage it was clear that this was the man who would cause the plague on both their houses. With the long moustache accentuating the feline jokes that Mercutio so loves to the graceful but aggressive movements and postures we were left in no doubt that this was a man to be feared and loathed.
Mercutio by way of contrast was played in a more laid back and gentle manner the facial expressions and hand movements setting Mercutio apart from the other Montagues and Princes Kindred by an actor who was clearly enjoying the role.
But the star of the show is Laura Turner as Juliet totally believable as a wide eyed innocent 13 year old we watch her pass seamlessly through a whole range of emotions and from girl into woman and back again. Her reaction to her fathers directive that she will marry Paris was the most powerful scene of the night eclipsing even that of her untimely death.