THIS beautifully-paced production will have you routing for the star-crossed lovers from first sight, right to the bitter end.
Set ostensibly in a Verona of the 1940s, the swagger and style of the testosterone-fuelled men recalls gangland thugs of Sixties London while the use of flick knives as their ‘rapiers’ brings us right up to date with today’s screaming headlines about knife culture.
The brutish, flattened background allows the two stars of the evening to really shine, and what a superb pair of leads they are.
David Dawson and Anneika Rose, both making their RSC debuts, are beautifully matched. And daft though it seems - given that we all know how this will end - the audience is left hoping against hope that this time, it will turn out differently.
The ‘balcony’ scene is totally captivating, the best this reviewer has witnessed, and crucially, totally believable, given the short time span of the action.
Rose in particular gives off such presence that, even when lying drugged and prostrate on a bed and almost out of view, all eyes are glued to the one part of her people can see, her arm.
There’s a pace and urgency to the production which means that there’s no let-up in the action of a play that can sometimes flag in the second half.
If the leads are technicolour to the monochrome of the supporting cast, there are still fine performances to be found. James Clyde makes for a robust Friar Laurence while Julie Legrand is a hoot as Juliet’s nurse.
Directed by Neil Bartlett this production will provide a glorious evening of etnertainment. It’s on stage until January 24 -
if you get the chance, go and