Review: Romeo & Juliet at the Everyman

Photo: Gary Calton
by Andy Green WHEN I first heard that the Everyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet was actually going to be Romeo and Julius I must admit to being less than enthusiastic. It seemed a bit obvious; I think I used the word ‘trite’ and, as a gay man, I was preparing to be patronised. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nick Bagnall’s reimagining of the classic piece is quite wonderful and in many ways actually makes more sense than the original. Is this what Shakespeare intended all along? The play is set in the present day and has a huge cast of 45 including all 14 members of the Rep company and the Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP). The star-cross’d lovers are played by George Caple (Romeo) and Elliott Kingsley (Julius) and nothing jars about their relationship –  the fact that they are the same sex doesn’t really enter your head it just feels right. Melanie La Barrie puts in a brilliant performance as the Nurse, employing a West Indian accent to great effect and Dean Nolan puts in another exuberant turn as Mercutio, proving again that he can cartwheel with the best of them. The fight scenes in this production really impress. Movement and Fight Director Kev McCurdy has pulled out all the stops to create some incredibly convincing violent action that is actually quite scary, particularly, I imagine, if you’re sat in the front row of the audience! The music too is exceptionally well done with the evocative use of The Buzzcocks classic Ever Fallen In Love. The Everyman Rep Company have done it again. They began the season with the 5-star Fiddler On The Roof and they are ending it with a 5-star Romeo & Juliet. Bravo!