Review: ROMEO & JULIET at GreenStage

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By: Jul. 25, 2023
Review: ROMEO & JULIET at GreenStage
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Review: ROMEO & JULIET at GreenStage
Jasmine Harrick and Joe Moore in
ROMEO& JULIET by GreenStage.
PhotoCredit: Ken Holmes

GreenStage brings the classic tale of ROMEO & JULIET to life with wit and charm and heaps of teenage angst. Beneath the canopy of trees, the denizens of Old Verona weave their magic. Whether you are Team Capulet or Team Montague, you’ll enjoy the battle. The timeless tale of love is full of laughs, passion, and manipulation. 

The Montagues and Capulets are locked in a long-standing feud. When Romeo and Juliet meet, they do not know that they are meeting someone whose house is at war with their own. Romeo is determined to see more of her and attends a Capulet family party in disguise. Juliet is no less deterred by his name. The fear of discovery of their affection only heightens their desire and soon they are locked into their star-crossed path. Friar Laurence agrees to marry them in hopes that their union will mend the rift between the families. Soon their hopes are dashed as a confrontation has left Romeo’s dear friend dead, and Juliet’s cousin as well. The Friar concocts a scheme to save them and their love, but the simple delay of a message seals their fate.

GreenStage presents the classic tale in a classic fashion. The cast of ROMEO & JULIET bends your ear effortlessly to their lyric language. Tom Dewey as Prince Escalus is commanding and fierce. His bullish entrance makes everyone including the audience meek as a chastised school kid. Anthony Duckett as Mercutio leads the way in finding all the humor and squeezing it out. His playfulness and charm leave no doubt as to why he was a popular friend. David Elwyn presents Tybalt with a fierce aggression and no-nonsense attitude. His steely eyes are just as frightening as his sidearm. Gail Javarah Wamba is an easy favorite with her portrayal of the bumbling Nurse. She tallies quite a few laughs of her own, but also hits home with some serious points of truth. And her affection for Juliet was most touching. Joe Moore as Romeo is languid and a bit cerebral. His biggest emotions come from his defense of Mercutio, while his separation from Juliet is marked with sadness and melancholy. Jasmine Harrick as Juliet reminds us that this great love story is one of teenage love. Her impatience, passion, dejection, and hyperbole perfectly demonstrate the state of a teen who is feeling a million things all at once. We believe her and in her love for Romeo. In this show Juliet truly is the sun, and the rest are satellites pulled into her orbit.

Tom Dewey pulls double duty and is also the fight choreographer. He makes each fight scene unique and follows the intensity of each of the combatants. Audrey Herold’s costume design knows where to put the focus and how to stretch a budget. I especially like the non-traditional crown of the Prince and Juliet’s dreamy pink dress. The dulcimer and harp music provided by Molly Kaleo Bauckham (who also plays Lady Montague) is definitely another highlight of the show as it takes you to another place and time. Director Luke Sayler has staged the show in such a way that it transitions from park to park with ease. Most importantly, he has the cast working together well as a unit and in command of the text.

ROMEO & JULIET is a classic that always offers something fresh with each revisit. The many twists and turns take the audience on a wild wide even with the ending announced in the first soliloquy. The only downside is GreenStage’s decision to run the show straight through without intermission. While the actors maintain their energy well, the audience could perhaps absorb and enjoy more with a little break. Nonetheless, ROMEO & JULIET is sure to satisfy the taste of Shakespearean aficionados as well as make new ones.

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