Romeo & Juliet
29 June 2023
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
I went to see East London Shakespeare Festival’s production of Twelfth Night last year, so when they came back to Hoxton Gardens with a fresh production of Romeo & Juliet this summer, I had to head back and check them out again.
With a true festival feel, they open the gates and hour before the show for people to get settled, bring a picnic, and get comfortable. I brought along a large picnic blanket and some snacks, though there are a few chairs available for guests as well. But it was such a pleasure to see the show seated on the ground last year, I decided to do the same once more.
ELSF have tackled the most famous story of star-crossed lovers, young Romeo and Juliet, kept apart by feuding families. With a good dose of audience interactions, dynamic acting, and modern music to spice things up, the show is just so much fun to watch.
Focusing more on the banter and mildly raunchy side of the play, the story really comes to life with the lovelorn teenagers pining over each other while their families try to thwart their blossoming relationship at every turn.
The addition of pumping dance music, an unexpected audience sing-along to Robbie Williams’ Angels, and a few other surprises along the way, it’s a lively and passionate show full of laughs and bright energy.
It’s such a breath of fresh air to see a production of Romeo & Juliet that focuses on the futility and ridiculousness of the feud between the two families, emphasising how young and immature the famous lovers are, while keeping things light and entertaining. Not veering too far from the original material, it’s a wonderful show to see in an open-air setting, feeling fully involved through open acting and a strong connection to the audience throughout.
Another brilliant show from this group, who are branching out and taking the production to North London as well this summer! Definitely get yourself a space for a run in a local park, it’s a fantastic way to experience this play. I can’t wait to see their next production!