Date Night: Romeo & Juliet
June 11, 2009

Laura Wickham as Juliet and Samuel Donnelly as Romeo

Laura Wickham as Juliet and Samuel Donnelly as Romeo

Last night I went on a date, a date with myself to see a production of Romeo & Juliet in Covent Garden at St Paul’s The Actor’s Church.

Every once in a while it’s nice to spend some quality time with yourself exploring a new neighborhood, trying a new restaurant or seeing a show.

The theatre company, Iris Theatre, responsible for the production called it an “open air promenade.”  When I bought the ticket I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but Romeo & Juliet is a personal favorite and I thought it’d be great to see on Shakespeare’s home turf.

The stage was set throughout the garden and inside of a church in Covent Garden.  As the scenes progressed, the audience moved with the actors about the garden.  Blossoming with roses and subtly lit, the garden provided the perfect setting for the story.

With each movement, I felt more connected to the story and with the actors.  In some scenes they are right up next to you, making it very intimate–completely appropriate for the tale of Shakespeare’s “star-crossed lovers.”

The raucous masquerade

The raucous masquerade

Non-conventional, humorous and fresh, the performance featured the nurse in drag and the famous masquerade scene turned into a dance party chock full of innuendo.  However, Shakespeare’s language and style was not lost.  It was lovely to hear the lines read by locals in their smooth accents.

I was nervous that the open setting would make for awkward interaction between the audience and the actors, but instead I felt engaged with the story in a way that I’ve never experienced in a theatre before.  The show ends this weekend, so if you’re in London give it a go.  If not, definitely add an “open air promenade” to your list of things to do.

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