Alexander Wilde And Adam Sax
A bold and visceral adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic love story – Romeo & Juliet at the Globe Theatre, London.
I can think of no greater venue to experience my first post lockdown theatre visit than the iconic and world-renowned Globe Theatre, situated on London’s bustling and vibrant Southbank.
This is the first review I have undertaken outside of the Midlands and was concerned that it may be logistically challenging travelling to the capital for a single day mid-week. However, rather than taking the cost prohibitive train, my companion and I drove to Hendon, leaving the M1 at junction 2 and used the Just Park app to park on a local resident’s driveway. From there we took the Underground Northern Line to London Bridge. Our journey time in total was two and a half hours. I have driven in to central London previously and this was far cheaper and convenient, particularly as we avoided the congestion charge.
Modelled on the historic theatrical space of 1599, this traditional venue steeped in history thoughtfully incorporates modern aesthetics and amenities. The Globe provides an unrivalled, unique and memorable experience.
As expected, all social distancing guidelines are adhered to without impacting the pleasure of going out and enjoying a performance. The dedicated and friendly troupe of volunteers and staff provided a warm welcome and stewardship. Well stocked kiosks sell a delectable range of drinks, snacks and light bites. All of which can be ordered online in advance.
Varied seating price points, including the open-air yard, ensure that this venue is accessible to all. We were seated in the Lower Gallery which, like all tiers, creates a feeling of intimacy; fully immersing you in the unfolding story. It is worth noting that the benches are wooden, without cushions, and not all have backrests. As the plays are currently running without intermission, I would recommend ringing the helpful box office to aid you in choosing the most appropriate seats.
As for the production itself, a diverse and talented cast bring energy and urgency to the play. They breathe new life into this familiar tale by combining physicality, music and humour (when appropriate). The cast, made up of some familiar faces from stage and screen, bring a passion and vitality to the words, effortlessly ensuring their roles are fully fleshed out and alive.
Of particular note is Adam Gillen as Mercutio, bringing a puckish and lascivious quality to the role, as well as a more street smart, sometimes threatening aura.
The titular stars, Alfred Enoch as Romeo and Rebekah Murrell as Juliet, are utterly convincing as the star cross’d lovers, selling both the excitement and thrill of first love, as well as the tragic circumstances of their fates.
Performance, music, stagecraft, all combine to bring a fresh and contemporary take. Simple yet effective set dressing ensures your gaze never wanders from the stage.
One of the more unique aspects of this production is the use of striking and modern messages, punctuated throughout the production and spoken by the cast in direct addresses to the audience, as well as being projected onto the performance space. These comments on mental health, emotional neglect and suicide are salient and timeless themes in Shakespeare’s text, and really show what a consummate scholar of the human condition he was.
Certainly never more relevant, particularly to a modern youthful audience.
Whether a Shakespeare stalwart or burgeoning bard, Romeo & Juliet is unmissable!
Rating: Five Stars
Running to 17th October 2021, tickets cost from £5.
Book online https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/ or at the Box Office 020 7401 9919