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Romeo & Juliet, Globe, 30/03/2013


 
Part of the Education season pre-actual season starting.  Won a buncha ticketses, so me, Ruthi, Orjan and Carmilla went along.  (turns out it was Orjan's first theatre in 13 years and first Shakespeare in 15) Expecting it to be cold but not as bloody cold as it actually was. looked like a nice day.  not necessarily sunny but no rain forecast, and as much as I love the globe, downpour is somewhat argh-some.  The steward made a jibe about it having snowed on them last saturday.  And laughed.
 
Music pre-start was brass ... and then we figured out what the tune they were playing was.  Bloody 'Call me Maybe'.  Which then segued into Jessie J's 'Price Tag'.  (which actually works absolutely fine scored for trumpets) Started with a fight (including bmxs in the manner of city riots, incl the main stage prop, a burnt-out car.) Fight almost entirely feet and fists with requisite flailing and attempted martial arts moves because, hello, teenagers.
 
Costuming : hoodies and modern gear for teens (Tybalt is in full estate gangsta style parka), suits and formal for adults, Paris as young City type, with fortunately no colour coding that you often get.  Unless you've very specifically set it up as gangs or military, this gets really tired.  One suspects Jade Anouka* (Juliet) was very glad that current fashion for girls is hotpants and very thick tights.  Nurse, in full chav mode was probs luckiest - velour tracksuit, padded gilet and uggs.  Utter genius touch was Friar Lawrence and co, who were in full beige and other tans as happy clappy missionary types, complete with horrific glasses and sweater vests.  And the ball - utterly hysterical - first Mercutio and Benvolio bounded onstage in full Only Fools and Horses mode as Batman & Robin, then we got Tybalt as Darth Vader (and flick-out lightsabre which he kept slashing about to make a point when he goes into his snit-fit), a Captain America, a Marge Simpson, a Scooby Doo, etc- all cheap store bought, and bestest, Capulet as Elvis.  Complete with flames up the sides of his flares. Romeo and Juliet were in bits of standard Globe costume to make them stand out with neon accents for stuff like tights, but seeing the wondrous tackyness of everyone else, wondering what the hell they were supposed to be.
 
Good performances, convincing teenagers (sometimes they're so worthy/succumbing to the text that they just don't convince as teenagers - Juliet's supposed to be *13*, and if you're doing it in modern dress, you better play her as a modern day 13 year old, not how she'd have been expected to behave in the 17th century) and Romeo was a complete twerp.  As is right and necessary.  Best was Friar Lawrence and the Nurse, who were by turns well-meaning and meek with great 'oh shit' and 'give me strength' expressions and completely vulgar for the Nurse.  Who believes in shopping expeditions.  Most of the Nurse's dialogue works so bloody well in this setting.  Actually, as does quite a bit for this play - slang and phrasing's made enough of a turn around in the last decade to not need translation as long as you act it right.  Tybalt doubled up as an extremely down and out drug dealer :cough: apothecary. Definite tinge of the ex-Lahndan wideboy in Capulet.
 
Standout moments:  IT FUCKING SNOWED.  TWICE.  (we declared that this counted as all the fresh air we required for the entire Easter weekend, *and* it was done in the name of culture, so counted double.  fucking freezing)  Didn't know going in that there wouldn't be an interval.  They cut some of the second half's scenes to reflect this, including the killing of Paris (as seems to be really common these days, any idea why? doesn't add anything? makes Romeo less sympathetic?) and most of the tomb scenes - Friar Lawrence finds out from his 
fellow happy-clappier that the letter didn't get delivered, Juliet gets put in the tomb, Romeo commits suicide, Juliet commits suicide.  No interruptions by Friar. Wasn't bad, just made the suicides a bit rushed. Mercutio nearly skidded off the stage at one point when riding the bmx.  Usual coming through the crowd entrances from the cast, including where Romeo grabbed a blanket off one groundling, then borrowed Orjan's strawberry beanie for a disguise.  He did eventually give it back.  All of Romeo's internal questions were directed at the crowd, and after the first time where he made a gesture for an answer, the crowd were very cheerfully yelling back yes or no.  Yours truly 
got asked a question by Juliet and I did answer 'fuck no.'  May've got attention by our lot being the loudest gigglers at the funny moments. (pattern? what pattern?) The adults in the crowd are never going to forgive Romeo for walking in singing along to One Direction's 'You don't know you're Beautiful' and then getting the crowd to sing the last line.  We know One Direction lyrics.  Shut up.  It was forced.
 
Post-play, retreat to Founders Arms for desperate warm-up of hot drinks...
 
*If you ever want someone to play Tara off've True Blood'scousin?  grab Jade.  Even has her wtf expressions.

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