But, soft, what light through yonder laptop breaks? It is the Zoom, and Creation Theatre is the fun. Yes, that’s right, Creation have now focussed their talent on Verona and those two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, whose youngsters secretly enjoy each other’s charms. At the outset I chose to be on Romeo’s side, so it was: 'Go team Montague, and a plague only on the Capulets'.
Creation, together with the Watford Palace Theatre this time, are steadily developing digital theatre as an art form in its own right. This one, their ninth online production, and probably their best yet, is in part a live Zoom show constructed before your very eyes, plus a second half of lots of pre-recorded optional sections. So each audience member gets to choose not only which side they are on but also their pathway through the evolving game-show. This virtual story is told in such an inventive way that it is every bit as meaningful as an in-theatre version, and whichever way you choose to go, you end up with the same outcome (Shakespeare’s, of course). You could say, if you really wanted to, that that which we call a denouement by any other route would smell as sweet. The first half with its overlapping images and actors entering and leaving the digital stage is gripping, and shows the huge potential of digital theatre.
As I have come to expect, the cast is very talented, with high-standard performances throughout the list. The ever-reliable regular Annabelle Terry (Juliet) and Creation first-timer Kofi Dennis (Romeo) are excellent in the lead roles, as is Harmony Rose Bremner (Benvolio), a gifted newcomer to the profession. I was especially impressed by Dharmesh Patel’s portrayal of Mercutio, seemingly a devil-eyed sociopath.He makes the best use of the new medium with his engaging close-ups.
The directing of a digital show must be a nightmare at times, so I am in awe of Natasha Rickman's ability to bring it all together so successfully, confirming that, “the multiverse format is so freeing...and hugely exciting.” She is supported by imaginative costume and set design, which is Ryan Dawson Laight’s work, great choreography by Simon Pittman, and lots of IT wizardry. I can strongly recommend all of the team’s work on this one to you, especially if you haven't experienced the new form as yet.
You are highly likely to know the plot, as it’s been around for a while, so it’s probably not a spoiler to say that never was a story of more woe than this Zoom of Juliet and her Romeo.