Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's greatest love story of all time is given a new lease of life in this  controversial but exciting production by Merely Theatre.  Whilst the plot and dialogue remain true and faithful to the original storyline, this is a very different, stripped down version of the timeless masterpiece.  Thus, this most enduring love story is given a new and vibrant makeover with the old and the modern combining seamlessly together. 

The set and props are basic and sparse and do not change throughout the performance and the androgynous costumes identified only by the colours of the respective gangs they represent (Montagues and Capulets) enhancing the bleakness of the unfolding tragedy. 

This highlights and intensifies the minimalistic effect so that there is absolutely no retraction from the main focus of the performance of 5 outstanding gender blind actors.  Both Romeo and Juliet are sensitively played by actresses, giving a highly polished performance of the doomed lovers who secretly plan to marry but ultimately die together as a result of their feuding families.

This is a vibrant, youthful and fast moving production which epitomises the intoxication of thwarted love.  The seamless blend of old/classic with new/modern has been brilliantly interwoven resulting in a unique and vibrant theatrical experience. 

The appreciative audience were very enthusiastic in their praise of this performance.  For my companion and myself it was a very different, yet absorbing, fascinating and enjoyable evening's entertainmentTheatre at its very best!

Sheila Allen