Thurs 21st - Sat 23rd November & Tues 26th - Sat 30th November 2002
Directed by Zoë Chapman
Against a violent backdrop of civil conflict, an intense love emerges, more powerful and ultimately more destructive than the hatred that divides the lover's families.
'Romeo & Juliet' has a youthful energy and some of Shakespeare's most stunning language. For the past four centuries the universal themes of love, lust and family loyalty have appealed to audiences of all ages and all walks of life. Without a doubt it is one of the greatest, and most tragic, love stories ever told.
Love is supposed to conquer all, but in an unjust world nothing is quite so black and white.
Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written early in Shakespeare's career, about two young "star-cross'd lovers" whose deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It is not known exactly when Shakespeare wrote the play, but it is thought to be around 1594 - 1595. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with 'Hamlet' and 'Macbeth', is one of his most frequently performed plays
It has been adapted numerous times for stage, film, musical and opera. Adaptations of recent years have most notably included the 1950s stage musical 'West Side Story', and Baz Luhrmann's 1996 'Romeo + Juliet' which starred Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes.
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet borrows from a tradition of tragic love stories dating back to antiquity. Its plot is based on an Italian tale, translated into verse as 'The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet' by Arthur Brooke in 1562. Shakespeare borrowed heavily from the poem but to expand the plot, developed supporting characters, particularly Mercutio and Paris.
This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.
|Lady Capulet||Sue Dawes|
|Sampson||Richard Le Moignan|
|Cousin Capulet||Darren Corps|
|Lady Montague||Jenny Taylor|
|Friar Laurence||John Scadding|
|Friar John||Martin McBride|
|Watchmen||Richard Le Moignan |
|Servants||Heidi Brockhurst |
|Assistant Director||Damon Wakelin|
|Backstage||Kymberleigh Anderson |
|Costumes||Megan Utley |
|Props||Alice Corrigan |
|Banners & Flags||Sue Dawes |
|Lighting Designer||Jacquie Penrose|
|Lighting Operator||Derek Callam|
|Sound Operator||Sharman Callam|
|Sound Recordist||Nathan Chapman|
|Programme Design||Derek Callam |
|Front of House||Robin Hall |
Novice director Zoë Chapman coaxes some fine performances from her Bench Theatre cast. For example, if there were one person I would never have cast as Mercutio it is Mark Wakeman. He is - to my eye - everything Mercutio isn't. Completely wrong. But Chapman has gone against my better judgement and proves that her better judgement is superior to mine. Wakeman's performance is, quite simply, superb. He is the most funny, original and inventive Mercutio I can remember.
Nathan Chapman's Romeo is on pretty solid ground, too. The emotional range is certainly there, but it would be good to see some more of the quieter playing at times. John Scadding's completely dotty Friar Lawrence gets the prize for verse-speaking, though. Again I have never seen the character played like this - but it works. Warm, funny and completely barking. And mention for Jessica Grindley, who is apparently making her debut with the mother of all parts for girls her age. She speaks Juliet's lines clearly and with great understanding, but needs to learn the art of texture. There is clearly life in the old amateur stage yet.
The News, Friday 22nd November 2002