A cinema release was given to the revival of Romeo and Juliet which took place on Broadway from August until December 2013 on Broadway. It came to the UK last night for myself as I went to see it at Cineworld. Yes I wanted to see it because Orlando Bloom is Romeo and that certainly takes me back to my teenage years and biggest crush.
The production was a little bit strange. Yes I think that is the best way to start off this review, at first it sounded very Shakespeare and then it seemed to drift between that and more normal speak. If that makes any sense at all? But Romeo wore jeans, so that shows the more modern edge, not forgetting the motorbike he first arrived on. Nice little touch really as that meant he had to take his helmet off before we actually got to see his face.
Orlando would still be my ideal Romeo, but is he not a little bit old now to be taking on the part? At 36 he might have been pushing the boundaries a little bit, especially with the childish acting from Condola Rashad who is more annoying than anything else. It was difficult to see exactly why Romeo would have fallen in love with her. I mean it could have been a really good production if they had either left somethings alone or really gone for the modern edge it was left somewhere in between.
I thought the stage was very simple yet effective in the way the wall was moved around and used for many different things, especially for Romeo to jump over. I am left unsure about the new balcony, I think that should have been left to the normal style. But it was still effective as the classic lines you know and love come to life in front of you.
I thought the nurse was brilliant played by Jayne Houdyshell and really gave a few laughs and a little bit of comedy side, not too serious all of the time. I guess some of the things were rather laughable and I could not help but think that Lord Capulet was a very random character. He did not seem to fit into the so-called Shakespeare play at all, although I don’t think any of his lines had that edge to it which was a little bit strange. Lady Capulet was just way too evil as well!
I don’t want to to sound like I am totally slating it as this must be the most difficult of Shakespeare’s plays to revive and bring back. Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet and has an ideal version and how they want it to be. I mean I think the 2013 film version was a total fail in that sense. But this Broadway version at least tried to be something different and was the first in 36 years to take to a stage in New York. Massive amounts of pressure with that.
Is the chemistry between Romeo and Juliet enough in this play? It was not massively sexual or that much into it, the first kiss will leave you wondering as it just did not feel like that one kiss. Again though that must be difficult, but the whole love story is built on that first kiss. If nothing else it was an experience to see a play on the screen at the cinema. Mind you I think I would have rather seen Orlando actually on the stage in New York!
I think I will finish this review by saying it is an interesting version of everyone’s favourite tragic love story!