Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Nicole Anderson, Gemma Barrett, Gabrielle Dempsey, Kaiden Dubois, Zachary Holton, David McLaughlin, Georgina Periam, Eirik Bar.
It may be a romance, perhaps even the greatest ever written but for the two young lovers caught up in feud of epic proportions the relationship saw more destruction over an affair of the heart than almost anything else William Shakespeare could have conceived. For Romeo and Juliet their lives are so caught up in each other’s being that the consequences, the ramifications are not given much credence by the pair. All that matters is their young love.
William Shakespeare always wrote the driven so perfectly and that is of course true when it comes to those focused, determinedly obsessed in lust or love and it takes immense stature for anyone to encapsulate and portray those driven creatures.
Surprisingly for a production of Romeo and Juliet, it was to the supporting actors’ words that the audience hung onto the most. Surprising but on reflection rightly so as Gemma Barrett as Juliet’s rambunctious and well meaning Nurse, stole the show alongside the excellent acting of Gabrielle Dempsey as Juliet’s cousin Tybalt and Georgina Periam as Lady Capulet. This particular performance saw three incredibly strong and inspiring performances from three fantastic female actors. Whilst Romeo and Juliet may always be the main focus of Shakespeare’s play but the shift of attention away from the two star crossed lovers to those that are caught up in the fall-out of their relationship was a particular pleasure to see.
Gemma Barrett was especially a delight to watch as she brought something new to the character of the Nurse that often gets overlooked and aside from the Baz Luhmann’s 1996 film with the outrageously brilliant Miriam Margolyes in the part; no one has ever really come close to capturing the spirit and passion that the part requires till now. Gemma Barrett is a revelation.
A very enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours and a welcome surprise to see that whilst the two young lovers in which the play takes its name from, the audience were taken with those caught in the wake and despair wrought by their actions.
Ian D. Hall