Old Globe’s artistic director, Barry Edelstein, has crafted a memorable
production of “Romeo and Juliet” that melds the timeless love story
with pop and rock music, switches the gender of some of the supporting
characters, and gives a playful nod to iconic contemporary treatments
derived from the original. The result is utterly compelling.
Scenic designer Takeshi Kata has provided the cast a giant sandbox on the Globe’s outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre stage in which to play. Its ample size is needed to hold the over-inflated egos of the feuding Montagues and Capulets. Standing barefoot in cool sand in all their finery (courtesy of costume designer Judith Dolan) and issuing heated taunts only underscores the foolishness of their long-held dispute.When words turn to blows, a dizzying assortment of swords and daggers are deftly plucked from the sand. High marks to fight director Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum.
introduction of music and songs also holds surprises.
Montague cousins frolic to “Celebration” by Cool and the Gang. Romeo
(Aaron Clifton Moten)
first dance is to the opening refrain of the 1968 movie score of Franco
Zeffirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet,” performed by pianist and conductor
Justin Gray. At the party, Juliet belts out “Copacabana” by Barry
Marilow, that tells the tale of another “they were young and they had
each other” failed love story. In another scene, just before Mercutio
(Ben Chase) meets his demise, he taunts his enemies by snapping his
fingers mimicking the opening scene in “West Side Story.” All nice
Raising the bar for the role of the Nurse is actress Candy Buckley who portrays her as cougar.
second act dispenses with the contemporary flourishes as the story gets
down to business. Moten and Jacobson are so convincing as smitten
lovers, I found myself rooting for them despite knowing the inevitable
outcome. That I had to stop myself from shouting out loud “Don’t do it!”
when Romeo uncaps the poison vial, is a testament to fine acting under
By Lynne Friedmann