‘Have you ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with?’
The cast of Barbican Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet ask the audience this question as they walk onto the stage, in a beautiful harmonic version of Buzzcocks’ classic tune.
This is not the only time the talented performers burst into song during the production; they switch up the scenes and create both somber and whimsical moods with their acapella voices.
‘My only love sprung from my only hate’. Romeo & Juliet is the most famous love story of all time and, to commemorate 400 years since William Shakespeare’s death, Barbican Theatre have created a stunning performance of the timeless tragedy.
The secret garden in the Royal William Yard is the perfect setting for some magical summer theatre and to watch the tale of the star-crossed lovers. This unique outdoor location has three rows of seats facing the stage, allowing for an intimate setting. There’s a bar and another stall selling hot drinks and desserts, as well as an ice cream van and some extra tables and chairs.
Artistic Director, Mark Laville, has incorporated movement and song into the play beautifully and the actors convey raw emotion convincingly. The heart-wrenching moments in the story, such as when Juliet cries for her deceased Romeo and when Lady Capulet holds her dead daughter, are portrayed powerfully and authentically.
The action scenes showing the rival families at war are acted ferociously; the angry facial expressions and the disgust in their voices both successfully evoke real emotion.
Humour provides a welcome contrast to the scenes of tragedy, with the actors playing Benvolio and Mercutio making the audience laugh out load.
I was captivated from start to finish. Having learned the play at school myself and also having taught it to students when I worked as an English teacher, this is one of the versions that makes the fantastic work of the bard accessible to all. This is down to the actors supporting their lines with body language, facial expressions and tone of voice, allowing the audience to empathise with the characters, even if they don’t understand all of the language.
An outstanding performance of a much-loved tale, this is a production not to be missed. Romeo & Juliet is on until the 21st of August but tickets are selling fast, so grab yours while you can!