Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare’s most popular plays during his lifetime and, along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.
Neil Bartlett chose 1940/50’s Italy as the setting for his 2008 production.
The costumes had hints of The Sopranos and The Godfather and Neil deliberately made no visual distinction between the Capulets and Montagues – this similarity betwen the Houses emphasised the futility of their feud. Instead of a balcony, Juliet (Anneika Rose) spoke her most famous lines from her bed, the cast-iron bedstead forming a barrier between her and Romeo (Daniel Dawson). With a set created mainly from chairs and the bed, the production climaxes with the back wall splitting open to reveal the crypt and the tomb sliding downstage, surrounded by railing which Romeo cut through to be with Juliet.
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