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BWW Reviews: ROMEO AND JULIET with Fearless Theatre

You still haven't taken your seat and it's almost showtime. The lobby is packed, everyone is standing. Suddenly a guy in a leather jacket and ponytail bursts through the crowd, laying down the familiar scene of fair Verona. Following him are two punks carrying weapons, and a fight breaks out. You follow them into the theater and take your seat.

This is how Fearless Theatre, a new Denver company, kicked off it's inaugural season with Romeo and Juliet.

Directed by co-founder Alex Evert, the production takes a modern, dystopian punk approach. Romeo's in skin-tight red jeans, Juliet's wearing a cut-off Nirvana shirt and her family's party has strippers. The characters' tongues are a bit sharper than you're used to. Tybalt will bite her thumb off and spit it at you. (Yeah, Tybalt's a feisty female.)

Tyler Nielson, another of the company's co-founders, infuses Romeo with charm and innocence, adding edge when it's needed. Sarah Doerner's Juliet is spunky and sweet with a captivating stage presence. Friar Laurence, played by Christian Mendoza, owns his scenes with an addicting charisma. Bobbi Kaye Kupfner brings humor and vitality to Juliet's Nurse. Anthony White's Mercutio is witty and captivating, complemented nicely by Jacob Krider's jovial Benvolio. Tybalt, played by Felicia Tassone, is ferocious and intimidating. The rest of the cast is strong, effortlessly spitting Shakesperean dialect.

The costume design makes the feuding characters easier to distinguish--Capulets in yellow, Montagues in red. Otherwise the style is fairly consistent. Plenty of ripped denim, patches and metal studs. Think Hot Topic.

The simple black-and-white set was accented by four boxes with a coffin centerstage. The actors utilized the scenery well, but I was begging for a more dramatic lighting design. At certain points, the visuals became a bit muddy.

If you're a Shakespare fan, check this one out before it's over. While the star-crossed lovers have told their tale plenty of times, it's rare to see it like a Green Day music video.

Fearless Theatre's Romeo and Juliet continues this weekend at the Crossroads Theater (2590 Washington St.), playing Nov. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available in advance at http://fearless-theatre.ticketleap.com/romeo--juliet.

Photos by Abigail Kochevar



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