My Thoughts on Young People’s Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet
5 minute read // Published by Young Peoples Theatre, January 2022
Written by Alan Shao
Alan is a Senior Student of Young Peoples Theatre and is currently in Year 12.
Alan viewed a preview of the production during our Tech and Dress Rehearsals.
After throwing rose petals at Paris, and some wonderful bloody foreshadowing that I won’t spoil. Before the show, with a dramatic flair, our narrator comes out and gives the famous prologue setting the play in “fair Verona”, hearing it live was something I didn’t even know I needed. The age-old feud between the Montagues and Capulets is established before we see Romeo instantly smitten by Juliet. Romeo’s fluid and rowdy characterisation had me wide-eyed and abashed, wonderfully contrasting Juliet’s fair and innocent depiction who falls for Romeo equally.
With the help of her accent wielding nurse, they arrange their marriage. However!; a fight breaks out amongst the Montagues and Capulets and whilst breaking up the fight between the incredibly hilarious and raunchy Mercutio and the mega-stylish and suave Tybalt. Which ends with Romeo banished for a murder I will not spoil, even thought this play is 400 years old. In a desperate attempt to reunite with her love, Juliet fakes her own death, however fails to communicate this with Romeo. With a tragic miscommunication, both succumb to their foretold fate and as expected with Shakespeare; Tragedy is the ribbon which ties the end of the play.
The fight scenes get their own review because it is 12am and I can do what I want.
There is nothing to say except everything because OMG the fighting was amazing. Dramatic, satisfying, loud, painful-looking, forget the boxing ring, this play is all you need for amazingly choreographed, bloody and gut wrenching fight scenes. Every kick, punch and throw could be seen, felt and had me wincing in sympathy. The fight scenes are scattered almost as generously as the blood. The totally real looking blood had me crying for the poor cleaners and also ooh-ing and ahh-ing at the splatters and trails. I feel bad for poor Kate (Tybalt) who, through trusted sources, can be cited as the source of all the blood (good job Kate). In summary, as someone who shamefully admits he is a fan of marvel movies, the action in this play did an amazing job at fulfilling my desire to see someone get punched every once in a while.
Shoutout to lighting as the ambience of the show was always appropriate to the scene. The dramatic deaths were cast in hues of reds and blacks, while the ballroom scene was carpeted in a dazzle of lights and colours. Even in the dim greys of the prologue, everything (that the director wanted you to see) was always in clear visibility while still providing the dramatic flair that every show desires. A spotlight on a character’s soliloquy or a ray of colours showing us all the angles of a fight, everything was spectacularly done and I’m happy to report a wonderful experience with the viewing.
There is not much to say about sound as if done right, there should be nothing to be noticed. But the clear audio and well timed sprinkling of music to pull the heartstrings was not lost on my sharp eye. The vocal projection was wonderful and the rhythm of the Shakespearean Iambic Pentameter was very pantemic indeed. The almost hypnotising rhythm and steadiness with which they spoke had me drawn in even if I didn’t always understand the meaning. A gripe of not being able to hear the dialogue above blaring music is one problem I’m happy to say was not present in this production.
In short: what a drip.
In length? The choice of clothing had me hooked on the rest of the play from even before the prologue. My personal favourites were Tybalt’s reds and maroons as well as Paris’s immaculate suit. Romeo’s poor choice of clothes fit his character perfectly while Juliet’s whites were the exact opposite of Romeo’s. I’m particularly impressed by the practicality of the costumes while maintaining the feel of a 16th century play. Appropriate for Shakespeare and the modern stage!
Nurse’s overbearing nature captured the way all mothers are sometimes so perfectly. I found myself wondering if she were not playing my own maternal carer. I also relate to the various bodily pains she has, I too find my bones creaking with every step in my old age.
Capulet was by far the most insufferable, unjust and horrible character that day. My blood was type OO that day, but with a 1 at the front, that is to say my blood was 100 degrees; the boiling point of water. The point is my blood was boiling and I hated Capulet and for that I say congratulations Sam on an incredible job.
Paris’ facial expressions were often a reflection of my own feelings, while never the focus of the story, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by his many varied facial expressions. Poor Paris, all he wanted was a wife.
Friar has potions and that’s all you or I need to know. His “deadly” potions are a pivotal part of the story and Friar successfully delivers his scenes with great tension and suspense. The weight of those vials were truly felt and were treated with the narrative weight they deserved. I couldn’t help but see a little witchiness in Friar’s chemical bottles.
My Favourite Scene
R:I dreamt a dream tonight
M: And so did I
R: Well, what was yours
M: That dreamers often lie
My favourite lines from the entire play, and Mercutio did not disappoint, nor did he disappoint with any other of his amazing deliveries, hilarious and a wonderful characterisation, especially of my favourite moment!
Go watch this production please, it has everything you could want in a play. Plentiful and detailed fight scenes, a seamless yet creative set design, backed by wonderful lighting and sound. Hilarious, raunchy yet nuanced and delicate characters played with such finesse you could play a fiddle with them. Most importantly, a happy ending in which the lovers are reunited and no one dies in the end. 😉
Romeo and Juliet opens today at Young Peoples Theatre until March 5. Bookings at ypt.org.au/bookings