Sydney Shakespeare Company’s production of Romeo and Juliet
Director Stephen Hopley’s detailed understanding of Shakespearean script has served him well in this production. His intelligent cutting and editing have produced a clear, tight story line with the added bonus (according to the edition notes) of what may be considered the original pronunciation of the family names.
Performances are mixed production but there were some lovely standouts. Christopher Dib gave a strong performance as Capulet. His determination to keep his family on their path and to get his daughter married, despite her objections was clean and controlled. Cameron Hunt’s Benvolio and Chris Miller’s Prince Escalus also stood out. Emily Richardson as Lady Capulet and Katherine Shearer as Lady Montague did everything they could do with such small underwritten characters. Richardson especially giving a strong performance in the moments she had. Jasper Garner Gore (Tybalt), Diago Ar Melo (Sampson) also gave committed performances.
It is the title roles that ultimately make or break this play. Emilia Stubbs Gregorio gave a solid performance as Juliet. The decision to play Juliet as the 14 year old that the script ages her (rather than the 20 something that is commonly portrayed) was a good one. Gregorio’s innocent, passionate and petulant Juliet drove the production. Benjamin Winckle avoided the angst-ridden Romeo that we so often see to give a more soulful performance. He didn’t quite match the performance levels of Gregorio and the chemistry/electricity between the two lovers was just not there on opening night. this may settle in over the run.
While Romeo and Juliet can make or break a production, it is often the nurse who is most often remembered. It is a well written comic role and Emily Weare takes it and makes it her own. there was a lovely strength and comedy to her performance which was a joy to watch.
Overall this is a good production that will get better with the run. It is worth going to support a young independent Shakespearean company.
Lynden Jones – Theatre Now and talking Arts
28 Sep – 9 Oct 2016
Wednesday to Saturday at 8pm
Sundays at 5pm
Venue: PACT Theatre
Theatre Company: XThe Sydney Shakespeare Company