Pop Up Globe’s | Romeo and Juliet

So you think Shakespeare is stuffy and dated storytelling, with little relevance to the modern world???  Well you better think again!

Pop Up Globe’s production of Romeo and Juliet – directed by Miles Gregory, is rewriting the Shakespearean book so to speak.  The well-known story which combines love, comedy and tragedy; now has a sprinkling of modern-day characters and scenes which one would more expect to be exposed to in a play set in the present, about a street gang from the wrong side of town.

But fear not thee Shakespeare purists!  For thou shall not be disappointed.  The main characters, alongside the finest period dress (courtesy of the accomplished costume designer Chantelle Gerrard), Elizabethan English and storyline all remain the same, but a number of the supporting characters have been replaced with modern day equivalents, providing a superb juxtaposition between the characters from the contrasting eras.  There is definitely a “shock factor” to the way the modern characters are introduced to the traditional story, but it is so cleverly executed, that I’m sure even William S himself would be impressed!  From the point of first introduction, the characters from the different times almost interact as a foil for each other and definitely add to the comedic element that is forever prevalent throughout the play.

From the jolting, and unexpected opening scenes, the passion, joy and energy of Romeo and Juliet is brought to the stage.  The innovative and inspiring set design and the talented cast providing the perfect balance of tradition and modernity.

Darcy Kent is the leading Romeo, perfectly cast as the romantic knave full of passion, good spirit (and hormones) for his beloved Juliet (Jess Hong) a naive yet opinionated babe of not yet fourteen …

They are supported brilliantly by their respective parents: the stoic and well-bred Montagues (Greg Johnson) and the proud and affluent Lord and Lady Capulet (Stephen Lovatt & Aruna Po Ching)

Tom Wingfield is engaging as Romeo’s loyal cousin Benvolio, full of youth and zesty exuberance. Rutene Spooner as Mercutio – the cynical BFF of Romeo, adds humour and a lively fruitiness to the stage.  Theo David as Paris -also provides laughs in the form of the light-hearted puns, and portrayal of the lovelorn and somewhat simple, would-be suitor of Juliet.

Amy Usherwood as Nurse and James Mavea playing Friar Lawrence too deserve a mention for their skillful acting, combining traditional roles with off-beat comical timing, which brings welcomed sporadic relief, to the ultimately tragedic fate of the play …

The Northumberland Company’s production of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ will definitely appeal to both the classic die-hard thespian and to those yet to experience the timeless wit and brilliance of Shakespeare, whose work is still relevant some 400 years or so, from when he first put pen to paper.

This is a must-see production from the Farewell Auckland Season of the Pop Up Globe, before the lofty and familial set is all packed up, ready for ventures yonder the high seas ……

Pop Up Globe’s summer Season runs from December 13 – March 1

Tickets available here: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2019/romeo-and-juliet/auckland/ellerslie