Monday, August 11, 2008

"Romeo & Juliet" - Edinburgh Fringe 2008

With budgets tight, Nonsenseroom's decision to stage Romeo & Juliet with a cast of only three is understandable, but it takes a talented and committed cast to make such a production work. Fortunately that's exactly what Cameron Mowat, Louise Bolton and Stuart Nicoll have supplied.

Rather surprisingly this hasn't necessitated that the text be played for laughs. Yes, there is humour - but it comes from the text. It would have been very easy to go down the road of over-the-top wigs and falsetto voices, but instead we have a cast who, along with director Bruce Strachan (and some clever costuming), have crafted each of their multiple characters clear identities allowing them to be easily distinguished. Even the occasional moments when characters are required to change on-stage are handled sombrely. Indeed, the representation of Tybalt's death by Nicoll shedding his costume is an incredibly powerful image.

The wonderful atmosphere the location provides, both in the chapel and its grounds, is further enhanced by Fiona Rutherford's harp playing - her accompaniment for the scene with the Apothecary truly creates a sense of impending tragedy.

Would I rather have seen Nonsenseroom mount a 'full scale' production? Possibly. But given the choice between this production and someone else's 'full scale' one, this one wins hands down every day of the week (and even more so on Saturday when your £25 ticket gets you a couple of glasses of wine, a light buffet, short Q&A and a late night tour of the chapel.)

Due to planned restoration work it's unlikely that Nonsenseroom will be able to stage a show at Rosslyn next year - and our Fringe experience will be much poorer for it.

Romeo & Juliet runs at Rosslyn Chapel until 23rd August (not 17th) with 'Special Performances' on the 16th and 23rd

1 Heckle

tom grimes said...

I always enjoy it when Nonsensroom do Shakespeare. This was no exception. Their language is clear making the plot easy to follow and the play more enjoyable.

However the use of so few actors was a little disconcerting. I could not help wondering who would turn up next in what role.

Tom Grimes