By Craig and Jennifer Mustoe
Spoiler Alert: This play, which you are no doubt familiar with, ends tragically. But the journey getting there in Ben Hopkin’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet will surprise and delight you.
The set is sparse but what is there is very effective. I don’t want to give too much away, but the current political arena plays into the set and costuming. It is fun but really, also helped me in identifying who was who among the Capulets and the Montegues. Sometimes, you just can’t tell. In this show, it is very clear and I appreciated that.
Some of my favorite parts of the show were these:
Romeo, played by Jordan Nicholes, was flawless. His character was consistent, passionate, and completely believable. I loved it. Underline loved. Kat Webb’s Juliet was fun. She had a different take on Juliet, playing her far snappier (think: bratty teenager) than I’ve seen done and it worked well. The chemistry of the two leads was not as steamy as I’ve seen in other shows, but it still was authentic.
Lynne D. Bronson’s Nurse was amazing. She didn’t make a false move, bawdy when needed but tender and sweet, as well. Her connection with Webb’s Juliet was wonderful. Lord Capulet, played by Joel Applegate, was marvelous. I was not as familiar with this part and when Applegate basically tells his daughter off, I felt that sick feeling in your stomach when your mom got mad at you for doing something wrong. He was that convincing. A character you love to hate.
Paris, played by Tyler Fox, was brilliant. His sword fighting was wonderful, and as he said after the show, “Laying there dead while mosquitoes were biting me was tough.” The mark of a true actor–discomfort for the sake of the show! I also loved Kocherhans’ Tybalt. He expressed Tybalt’s bitterness very well. Another character I wanted to punch in the nose, and I mean that in a good way. Friar Lawrence, played by Alisa Anglesey, was also a very believable character. I won’t give away her interpretation, but it was pretty interesting and worked quite well.
Archeluas Chrisanto’s Benvolio had many snappy ad libbed comments, which brought laughs. His scenes with the female Mercutio, played with style and sass by Noelle Houston, were a delight. Their chemistry is great and the timing perfect.
Music from a playlist is played for some of the scenes. I’m not sure it was needed, though during the EXCELLENT sword fighting scenes, it heightened the anxiety and fierceness. Giant kudos to fight choreographer to Matthew R. Carlin. Honestly, I knew who was going to die before the scenes began, but I found myself thinking, just how are they going to do this? The sword fighting scenes went on just long enough, but as an actress myself who has been coached in stage combat, I can tell you the fighters did a lot of rehearsing to make these scenes this exciting. The music during the love scenes and the death scene make me tear up, so I’d say those songs added to the sweetness and eventual sadness of this tragedy.
The biggest downside to this show has nothing to do with the production itself, but as I’ve discussed before, it had a ton of bugs. I heard that last night’s performance was the first time bugs were a problem, but they were a Big Problem. All of us were slapping our faces and arms once the sun went down. So, bring bug spray. Spray it before the sun goes down. Also, if you’ve ever been to the Castle Amphitheater, it is made of stone. You have several options to make sure you sit comfortably. One, BYOC, meaning, bring your own chair. Two, bring a blanket to sit on. The rock is hard and also warm, so bringing your own seating options is essential.
I would recommend Romeo and Juliet for those of you who love the play, love Shakespeare or are wanting a sweet, romantic, funny, and poignant evening of theater.
Renaissance Now Theatre & Film presents, Romeo & Juliet at The Castle Amphitheatre. 1300 East Center St., Provo, UT 84606 (behind the hospital and up the hill.)
Thursday, Friday, Saturday; July 21-24, July 28-30, August 4-6. Mondays are FAMILY NIGHTS: July 26th and Aug 1st.
Ticket prices are $8 general, $5 students and seniors, $20 group of 4, and $25 per family. Thursday performances are pay-what-you-will, and donations will be taken at the entrance. Cash and major credit cards accepted.
Please go to www.RenaissanceNow.com for more information. Tickets, cash or credit, at the door or through http://smithstix.com/
Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Utah Humanities will sponsor a selection of FREE pre-show events entitled, “SHAKESPEARE: OUR CONTEMPORARY.”
July 29: Dr. KATHY CURTISS, “Shakespeare and Identity;” a community art project/sonnet share.
July 30: Dr. KATHY CURTISS, FTC, “Gender roles & Generation in Shakespeare.”
August 4: SARAH RE, HOFSTRA, “Shakespeare: the measure of the man, by the garments he hath on.”
August 5: Dr. TIM SLOVER, UNIVERSITY OF UTAH, “Shakespeare’s Invention of Word & Language.”