Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Richard Bremmer, Patrick Brennan, George Caple, Pauline Daniels, Laura Dos Santos, Emily Hughes, Tom Kanji, Asha Kingsley, Melanie La Barrie, Dean Nolan, Zelina Robeiro, Keddy Sutton, Liam Tobin, Isobel Balchin, Alice Corrigan, Poppy Hughes, Geirgie Lomax-Ford, Hannah McGowan, Chloe Nall-Smith, Catriona Chandler, Erin Clarke, Jordan Connerty, Stuie Dagnall, Will Flush, Jazmine Hayes, Amber Higgins, Jake Holmes, Chloe Hughes, Luke Logan, Jiacheng Lu, Niamh McCarthy, Lucy McCormack, Lacy McGurk, Nadia Mohamed Noor, Rachel Newnham, Jamie Pye, Keeley Ray, Nathan Russell, Samuel Serrano Roberts, Kalia Shaples, Darci Shaw, Esme Skinner, John Stephenson, Ellie Turner.
If theatre exists for anything, if its stands above the usual and the crowd filled expectation, then to take people out of their perceived comfort zone, to subvert and change their minds on even one of the most performed plays in the English language, that is the point of beautiful existence, that is the point of theatre and it is most certainly the position of love.
Nick Bagnall’s direction and subverting of the text for William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is made Summer glorious as Juliet becomes Julius as the production, the fifth and final offering by the Everyman Rep Company in their first foray as a marvellously working group, offers a look at the world through the eyes of a young love in fair Verona. It is one though that is just as capable of bringing down the world, just as inspired a sense of proportion and one that is ultimately doomed because of the outside forces driven to separate the two lovers.
On a set which both elevated and brought down the actors depending on the situation and which the lighting design by Ms. Kay Harding was impeccable, Nick Bagnall’s troupe of players gave such great heart, spirit and sense of wonder that in truth it will be hard to ever match this production again, certainly on the stage, despite the breathtaking and astonishing creative rawness of the space and sublime acting by George Caple as Romeo, Elliott Kingsley as Julius, the fantastic, the generous Dean Nolan as the doomed but loyal Mercutio and the utter prevailing cool of Melanie La Barrie as the Nurse, this production surely and without favour, is the cream of a Shakespearean play and one that has no equal in the last fifty years.
The beauty of the performance is held together by George Caple and Elliott Kingsley, two star crossed lovers, actors, giving everything to prove that it is not the gender you fall for but the soul, and this play is all about that soul, from first meeting to untimely death, the soul is captured with rare honesty and true delivery.
A perfect ending to the first modern Everyman Rep Company outing, Nick Bagnall and the Everyman Theatre team have served up an absolute delight in Romeo and Julius.
Ian D. Hall