Romeo and Juliet at the Theatro Technis
Reviewed by Sarah Lafferty
This is a modern grungy adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. At the helm is Armagh director Gavin McAlinden who pumps up this classic and makes the play reflect Camden’s vibe.
It’s a sparse, dark, stage design, and while all the young actors are dressed in casual clothing, their frantic energy fills the stage. McAlinden told me afterwards that this play “is about young people and our creation will appeal to a young audience.”
The big initiative is McAlinden’s decision to use a nightclub called ‘Club Verona’ as the main setting.
This leads to a few dramatic changes which include a drunk girl singing in a slurred voice, a dishevelled group of drunken youths staggering home after a party and Friar Lawrence dealing (or frying up) drugs.
Most notably, there’s a party scene in which the entire cast dances freestyle, but when Romeo sees Juliet everybody else freezes, then the two star-crossed lovers chase each other and once they leave together, the rest of the cast reawaken to perform Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’
Music and choreography play a huge role in keeping the energy levels of this play so high. McAlinden wants his adaptation to be “zippy and fast-paced theatre.” Club and pop music mark transitions between each scene and at one point they sing an upbeat version of the ‘Drunken Sailor.’
Towards the end, a beautiful movement piece which symbolises Romeo and Juliet consummating their marriage is a cross between Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’ video and ‘Dirty Dancing.’
A radical restaging of Shakespeare’s play yet the large ensemble nevertheless stays loyal to the original text, dance beautifully and delivers an energetic retelling of the classic love story.
Romeo and Juliet runs in Theatro Technis on 14, 15, 17 October.
More info and bookings at www.theatrotechnis.com