Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Romeo and Juliet



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Regents Park Open Air Theatre
Director: Kimberley Sykes
Isabel Adomakoh Young (Juliet), Joel MacCormack (Romeo)
RW, Margy, RM, Emma, NM, WW, Sian W.

First things first. “They call for dates and quinces in the pastry.” Act IV, Scene 4. I don’t remember this at all. I’m sure, given the in-depth Club conversation touching on such matters, prior to curtain, that it would have struck us loud and clear. Much was indeed cut. for reasons of Covid, we think, intervals are rather eschewed at the moment, so we ran straight through, which was, as RW pointed out, rather satisfactory in the way in which momentum was maintained. And it is a play that moves quickly.

The first scene was almost catastrophically bad – i think many of us thought, oh christ, one of THOSE productions – lots of mockney snarling and bootiness. Playing at violence. Some of us may not have recovered, but I (WW) did, especially once Isabel Adomakoh Young arrived. She is without a doubt the star attraction. I can’t remember whether she is as young as she seemed or whether her acting young was so damn good, but she gave the role the enthusiasm, impatience and odd naive seriousness that it requires. My sister Sian thinks maybe IYA is the best Juliet she has ever seen. I’m inclined to agree.

Joel MacCormack’s Romeo grew into the part, and he was much better once the action had turned from light to dark. I especially liked Emma Cuniffe’s Nurse – very un Mrs Tiggwinkle. The surprise was Peter Hamilton Dyer’s Friar, a part that is often a bit yawny. Perhaps the cutting was good, but Dyer certainly was: clear and interesting. First rate, too, was Mercutio, played by Cavan Clarke, a real presence. His death by the seriously overdone Miss Tybalt (Michelle Fox) was thankfully avenged very soon after. This wasn’t a great production, but it was a lively, engaging one, with no longeurs, and it contains one great performance. The weather might have been balmier, though there was a wonderful billowing of the trees at the moment of R & J’s first kiss.

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