Monday, February 15, 2021

ROMEO & JULIET (RomeoJuliet2021/Metcalfe Gordon Productions)****


By Imogen


Available until: Performances at 7pm from Monday 16th-Saturday 27th February. Matinées on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2.30pm.

If you’re one of the idiots who thinks musical theatre actors aren’t proper actors, you need to watch this production of Romeo & Juliet. Romeo is played by gorgeous Sam Tutty who was starring in the brilliant new musical Dear Evan Hansen in the West End when our entire industry got shut down.

If you’re not one of those idiots, you should still watch this because it is a brilliant production with top quality acting and lots of really hot men. (If you’re not into men I think Juliet is quite pretty.)

Nick Evans is the director of this production and he has decided to set it in the present day. Juliet has ripped jeans (which I think are unelegant but not everybody has my taste) and Romeo has a phone. I think it went a bit far when the boys were shown with masks because we get enough of that in real life but most of the production decisions are really good. The old-fashioned language is still used and it did seem a bit weird at first but if you are intelligent I’m sure you’ll get used to it. If you are not intelligent you might like to check out Lottie and Ricky’s review of Pongo’s Party instead.

This film was filmed in a really interesting and COVID safe way. There was one day when Romeo and Juliet were allowed to touch and kiss (Alba would have FREAKED if she’d seen them, she’s so COVID conscious it’s ridiculous but I think really she just likes telling people off. When I was her age I thought about normal things like boys) but the other actors were all filmed separately against a green screen and then pasted into the video.

It could have been total rubbish but it works. The acting is really good and I don’t think you’d guess the actors were talking into the empty air and had no idea what they were meant to be responding to. There are some good connections between the characters like Romeo and Mercutio, Juliet and the Nurse, and even Capulet and Paris which is a bit weird but it wasn’t boring.

Sam Tutty is such an amazing actor. He speaks the verse so elaquantly, he makes it really accessible for a modern day audience who might not be used to Shakespeare. He takes his shirt off too so bonus! He expresses Romeo’s emotions so powerfully and he makes him seem manly and sensitive at the same time which is what all boys should be aiming for.

Emily Redpath is just out of drama school and she plays Juliet as a stroppy teen which I think is totally right especially when you are updating it to the present day but then she kind of grows up a bit after she sees Romeo and realises tying yourself to 1 boy for the rest of your life might not be completely awful if he looks like Romeo.

Both of them seem to be from single parent families unless there’s a lesbian thing going on with Capulet and the Nurse but I don’t think so because Capulet so wants Paris. Helen Anker plays Capulet who is made up of both Juliet’s parents and Marc Ozall plays Montague who is made up of both Romeo’s parents. This works because one parent is more than enough for anyone and they are both good actors. Helen is really classy for an older woman, she’s like totally in control and not too embarrassing which I think more parents should take note of. Lucy Tregear is good as the Nurse, she doesn’t go totally OTT and embarrass herself like a lot of Nurses do.

Jonny Labey is really hot as Paris, I don’t blame Capulet at all but I’d have ditched him for Romeo too. He seems intelligent but not in an annoying geeky way. Brandon Bassir is a really fun Mercutio, his interpretation felt really modern but he still says the text really well. When he died in Romeo’s arms I was just DONE. That was probably my favourite death scene after Romeo. Daniel Bowebank is a calmer Benvolio but he has like so much presence the way he says his lines is to die for. Seriously if I was playing Juliet I wouldn’t have wanted to film it all separately. I’d have been TOTALLY ok with isolating with all these guys.

The Prince was a bit disappointing because she’s a girl (Jessica Murrain) but I guess it’s only fair to give the boys and lesbians something else to look at and she is actually good. She was actually quite manly but still not my type. Vinta Morgan is a good Friar, he’s not as annoying and hypocritical as most of them. Some old guy called Derek Jacobi did the prologue. He seems quite good.

So give this film a watch and if you’re not a total snob you’ll probably like it.

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