Tuesday, January 21

Merely – Romeo and Juliet

- June 9, 2017

‘Sweaty, stripped-back Shakespeare’, proclaim the posters, and while the five-strong cast certainly have plenty of energy, it’s misdirected. Ostensibly genderblind, if you ignore the fact that the only male performer plays men only, the costume design blends the characters together, compounding the confusion created by a small cast, and the pared-down text is delivered in a frenetic, breathless style bereft of dynamics. When stripping back Shakespeare, care is needed if you’re to avoid eviscerating it: the decision to cut the ‘star-crossed lovers’ from the prologue denies the great riptide of fate that propels the tragedy, leaving something altogether less satisfying.

Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 6 June 2017
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Pete Langman


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