BWW Review: Redhouse Arts Center Presents ROMEO & JULIET
Redhouse's production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet appropriately opened on Valentine's Day under the fresh direction of Melissa Rain Anderson. The romantic tale of a forbidden love comes to life with a fresh take on the characters, time period, and costumes. The result is intriguing and captivating.
Redhouse's Romeo and Juliet takes place in a dystopian setting where the world of the two lovers is on the edge of destruction. Scenic designer Apollo Mark Weaver creates a very minimalistic set where there is just a simple two-level set piece used for numerous scenes along with two lamp posts that appear to have faced some damage. The stage is in the thrust. This allows the actors to come from many sides in the ever-changing theater at the Redhouse. It is always a treat to see how each director effectively uses the space options available at the Redhouse. Scott Little's lighting design effectively enhances the new look and of course the powerful emotions and messages of the classic tale. The design and new interpretation of the chaotic and falling apart world that Romeo and Juliet live in is refreshing from the edgy costume choices (Donnie William) to the smallest pieces of rubble placed effectively throughout the stage. The artistic elements of this production are memorable, detailed, and creative.
In this production, the energetic and fast paced line delivery enhances the youthful, innocent, and adorable energy of the young lovers. Some not so familiar with the play may find it difficult to understand due to the rapid pace. However, the choice to speed up the line delivery makes this production fresh, engaging, and comedic. It also makes it a lot more relatable to how we speak and act today. Romeo and Juliet is a play that has been performed countless times all over the world and most know the basic story. This production takes something familiar and adds an interesting flair to the lines and characters.
Noah Plomgren takes on the role of Romeo and his portrayal is heartwarming, emotional, and comedic. Plomgren's connection, love, and understanding of Shakespeare's gorgeous language is evident in his exquisite portrayal. Grace Daley Bydalek's youthful energy and glowing facial expressions capture the young and hopelessly in love silly teenage girl Juliet perfectly. Her spunk and charm are memorable. Plomgren and Bydalek showcase great onstage chemistry with their spunk, energy, comedic timing, and physicality in the roles.
For the role of Mercutio, actress Emelie O'Hara brings down the house with her effortless, consistent, comedic, and fresh take on the role. With O'Hara 's impressive biography, which lists numerous Shakespeare productions, it is no wonder she steals the spotlight. The line delivery, the movement, the attitude, and the energy were spot on perfection as she delivers Mercutio's crude and raunchy lines.
Local favorite Binaifer Dabu takes on the role of the Nurse and it came as no surprise that she excels in the fast-paced, energetic, lovable, character role. Dabu once again proves her impressive comedic skills and oh-so-charming line delivery. Dabu is a standout character actress.
Other memorable performances include Basil Allen as Friar Laurence with his effortless stage presence and line delivery, Maxwell Anderson with his commanding stage presence as Montague, and Ged Owen as Tybalt, showing off his fight acting skills (fight director Alec Barbour). Additionally, Landon Tate Boyle charms as Benvolio. Collin Purcell's eloquent line delivery as the Prince is a delight to the ears. Derek Emerson Powell delivers a memorable portrayal of Paris. Gretchen Martino is a highlight in her numerous roles and often stands out in the background. The entire cast showcases top notch chemistry and all deliver very passionate performances.
Redhouse's Romeo and Juliet, under the creative direction of Melissa Rain Anderson, is refreshing from the casting choices to the setting and especially the line delivery. It is a beautiful, thought-provoking, and a creative production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Running time: Two and half hours with one twenty-minute intermission.
Romeo & Juliet runs through February 23, 2020 located at Redhouse Arts Center which is located at 400 South Saline Street, Syracuse, New York 13202. For tickets and information on this production and upcoming productions at Redhouse click here.