OSC also like to include music in their productions and this performance was no exception. The music is from the 1950s and is performed by the cast with great gusto; the costumes date from that era too and the speed and variety of costume changes is very impressive. The cast is made up of only 8 actors who, apart from Romeo and Juliet themselves, perform a variety of roles. You might think that this would limit the performance somewhat but it does not seem to do so and, in fact, the actors deliver speeches which are often omitted or curtailed in other performances. This is all to the good. OSC manage to make the choice of period funny yet relevant without losing any of Shakespeare’s glorious language.
It seems hard to single out excellence in an all-round good cast, but I was bowled over by Alex Tomkins as rocker Romeo, looking for all the world like a young Elvis. He was funny, he was angry, he was tender. He was a young man in love. The pain on his face when he was told that Juliet had died was incredibly moving. Katie Krane as the nurse was excellent too, garrulous and frumpy, a feather for whichever wind was blowing at the time. The other actors had to be very versatile: Chris Jordan, for instance, was first a very camp Mercutio then Paris in a military uniform. The play moved seamlessly on through costume and character change at a pace which was lively but never breathless - full credit to those behind the scenes for this. They even have a fight director, which is just as well!
I have been reduced to helpless laughter before at an OSC performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream – this production is equally impressive in its own very different way and is definitely a must see.