A Shiny Life For Me!

a personal review blog by Bianca

Playing Shakespeare: Romeo And Juliet

Romeo And Juliet
09 April 2024 
The Globe Theatre 
4.0 out of 5.0 stars

Playing Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet is another production by the Globe Theatre aiming to make Shakespeare plays more accessible for young patrons. This fast-paced, modernised, 90-minute production is aimed specifically at tweens and teens is a whirlwind of a staging, cutting several speeches and pivotal moments from the play without losing the main plot.

The entire Globe is decked out in graffiti for this monumental piece, with the stage boasting piles of flowers in memoriam to one side. Stunt bicycle riders entertain the audience before the show, at times jumping incredibly close to patrons, kitted out in black track suits and face coverings, a very familiar sight for myself and the two children I took to the performance, all of us being East London dwellers.

This shortened version, made easier to understand for younger people without removing the poetic language entirely, sets the two famously feuding families up as rival gangs, drawing parallels to escalating knife crime in London as a pivotal plot point, thus hurtling the story into a contemporary setting more familiar to many young people in the capital. Peppering it with BMX riders performing stunts before and during the show, effortlessly incorporating modern dress and even smartphones into the action, and focussing on the most important plot points, it’s a sight to behold and definitely held the attention of the younger patrons in the audience.
The cutting of scenes and speeches works incredibly well, the modern setting feeling more natural than I had expected. Overall it was a fantastic performance to introduce younger patrons to one of the most beloved plays in Shakespeare’s catalogue, a brilliant shortened and updated version that really touched the audience.

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