Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Romeo & Juliet at The Garrick

To London for the Kenneth Branagh production of ROMEO AND JULIET, co-directed by Branagh, a Shakespeare I am not that keen on and it has been done so many times (at least 6 films?), but the cast of this current production whetted the interest. 
The leads are Freddie Fox (whom I last saw on stage as Bosie to Rupert Everett's Oscar Wilde in THE JUDAS KISS a few years ago, and who has since done TV work like CUCUMBER and films like PRIDE); Freddie stepped in at 48 hours notice (due to the injury of Richard Madden); Juliet is the equally busy Lily James (DOWNTON ABBEY, WAR & PEACE, CINDERELLA), 
Meera Syal gets a lot of value of value out of the Nurse, and Derek Jacobi now in his 80s is a very lively if older Mercutio - he even dances around the stage and seems fully recovered from leg injuries. 
Lady Capulet is that international star since the 1970s Marisa Berenson (DEATH IN VENICE, CABARET), whom I like watching as The Countess of Lyndon in re-runs of Kubrick's BARRY LYNDON (currently on release again after 40 years). She is just as mesmerising and ageless on stage here. 
The production (almost three hours long) does have its longeurs when reams of dialogue have to be delivered, but the essentials grip one and the staging is eye-popping, 
set in a 1950s Verona in the grip of the LA DOLCE VITA era: cue sharp suits, white shirts, sunglasses at night. The Capulet's masked ball is rather like that disco in THE GREAT BEAUTY and it certainly commands the attention. I liked it a lot more than the drab black costumes on a black stage setting of that RICHARD III also seen recently - see Shakespeare label. 
This R&J finishes this week and we then get Kenneth Branagh as John Osborne's THE ENTERTAINER, hardly revived since Olivier did it. 

1 comment:

  1. I've never been a big ROMEO AND JULIET fan either and it's the incidentals that I like most, (the supporting characters, the background etc), so I didn't have much wish to see this production even with the cast. I think the filmed production has already come and gone so it's unlikely I will be seeing it. I wouldn't mind seeing THE ENTERTAINER though just to compare Kenny with Larry.