Written by William Shakespeare and Nick Waller
Directed by Paul Warwick and Ben Walden
Presented by China Plate Theatre and Contender Charlie
Touring the UK 1st Feb – 23rd March 2019
With immersive staging, modern language and a lot of flash, this Romeo and Juliet is well targeted to primary school children. It’s a great introduction to the narrative at exactly the age when students are starting to study it.
China Plate’s production of the classic text places the Friar center stage, as a narrator and Greek chorus, explaining to the audience the tragedy as it unfolds. While the dialogue remains Shakespeare’s original, it’s been streamlined to just the key plot points and characters – Mercutio and Benvolio have been rolled together, Juliet’s parents reduced to hectoring projections, and the Friar has the Prince’s lines. All this has been done to make the play accessible to children from the age of nine – and they made up most of the audience.
The immersive staging puts all the action on a cracked street, and the use of concealed knives as weapons makes the modern relevance of the story particularly clear.
The sound and lighting design use the space extremely well, with a few live original pieces performed by our Juliet. The cast are largely competent, with the Friar and Tybalt as standout stars, bringing deeply felt emotion and complexity to their roles.
This is a good production for children to experience both a classic Shakespearean tragedy and theatre for the first time.
Previous review: Welcome to the UK by PSYCHEdelight @ The Bunker