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Preview: Romeo & Juliet @ Sherman Cymru

Posted by Jackofalltrades from Cardiff - Published on 15/09/2014 at 12:15
1 comments » - Tagged as Art, Culture, Stage

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Romeo & Juliet.

Love it or hate it, everyone knows it.

It's perhaps William Shakespeare’s most famous work (or at least it's certainly a strong contender), but is it now so iconic in its tropes that it is impossible to reinvent?

On Thursday, I was invited in to the always-welcoming Sherman Cymru to observe a few hours of rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet (you guessed it), which will be showing in the same venue from 2nd-18th October.

Romeo & Juliet is the headline performance of this year’s Autumn season and also Rachel O’Riordan’s first production for Sherman Cymru since becoming Artistic Director.

Now, you could argue that choosing a show, such as Romeo & Juliet could be either dangerous or a safe choice, due to the high level of audience familiarity with the piece.

However, having spent just a few short hours looking on from the outskirts, any doubts of what this team of people could achieve were destroyed before they even formed.

The first thing you noticed about the rehearsal room was the absolute ease of the actors, paired with an equal measure of focus. They had no doubt - inspired by Rachel O’Riordan’s enthusiastic, hands-on approach and clear passion for the text.


Seeing the group bounce off each other’s ideas and their playful attitude to discovering the text was so captivating that every second watching felt uniquely special, and I wish I could have spent more time as a fly on the wall to the production. 

A particular moment of note was the heart-warming and bawdy brotherly interactions between Romeo, Benvolio and Mercutio whilst Nurse brings Romeo news of Juliet. In the past, I have never wholly connected with the relationship of the three boys; however, if what I saw in the rehearsal room is any reflection of what will be present on stage, every instant of their time together is joyous to watch.

When asked about the production, O’Riordan told us that rather than setting the piece in a specific time, they were aiming for a ‘timeless’ world that is not restricted in what it can do in terms of costumes and set and instead spans many styles and eras.

She also stressed the immense violence present in the world of Romeo & Juliet and mentioned that the iconic fight scenes are very much centre stage and that there would also be some slightly more unexpected scenes of violence throughout the play.

Romeo & Juliet opens next month, and, if what I saw was the product of only two weeks of work, I can only imagine what they can achieve with a few more. You can buy tickets in advance here


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1 CommentPost a comment

Claire Stanfield

Commented 20 months ago - 16th September 2014 - 19:47pm

Thank you very much for taking the time to write this article, Jack. Looking forward to seeing this production all that much more now.

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