Sunday, February 28, 2021

SHARON ‘N’ BARRY DO ROMEO & JULIET (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch)***


By Emma


Available until: Livestreams on Zoom at various times every day (excluding Sunday) with the final performance on Sunday 6th March at 7.30pm. You’ll be automatically muted on Zoom but you can choose to be visible onscreen.

Sharon and Barry are a fictional couple who are in lockdown together. To pass the time they decide to perform Romeo & Juliet on Zoom for their friends. The play really does take place on Zoom. Sharon and Barry play all the roles themselves apart from the Prince, who is played by a girl called Alex (except in the performances where he is played by a boy called Alex but I saw the girl). Sharon and Barry are obviously living together in real life too and they share a screen but Alex has a separate screen. Some characters appear as dummies or cardboard cut-outs but they’re voiced by Sharon and Barry.

They don’t read the full play. There is quite a lot that is skipped over and explained as a narration but I don’t think they cut anything important and everything they did choose to do was great. There is also chatting between scenes while they set up the next scene and this is really funny. Sharon and Barry are great characters and I really like the way they talk to each other. There are a few mishaps as they go through the play and that is fun.

But this isn’t just a comedy about putting on a Shakespeare play. Sharon and Barry are both really good actors and they’re good at performing Shakespeare so you can enjoy it on that level too. Their Romeo & Juliet is funnier than the original but there are some really emotional moments too.

The production is directed by Douglas Rintoul and he has lots of really great ideas of how the different scenes can be set up to keep it different and interesting. I especially liked his idea for the bed. Nicola Thomas is the costume supervisor and I really liked all the costumes used in the play. Some of them aren’t very traditional but they do give you the right idea. Mercutio has a great costume at the masked ball.

Sharon is played by Joanne Seymour and Barry is played by David Nellist. They are both really funny. They make all the conversation between them sound really natural like they’re making it up as they go along (and maybe they are, maybe the script tells them to improvise). Joanne makes Sharon slightly bossy but with a really big heart. David makes Barry into the kind of man who probably needs a bit of bossing around. He takes it all very seriously and that’s sweet. Jessica Rothon does really well with reading the Prince’s lines and she has a lovely crown.

This is probably a great play for people who like Shakespeare but don’t always want to take it completely seriously. (And I don’t think Shakespeare always took it completely seriously himself.)

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