Romeo and Juliet, at the Courtyard Theatre

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If Baz Lurhman’s Romeo + Juliet was the production for the MTV generation of the nineties, then Rupert Goold’s Romeo and Juliet is the production for the Skins generation now. It is young, fresh, and incredibly sexy. We all know that the play is one of the greatest love stories ever told, but it is often forgotten that it is also full of lust and Goold does not shy away from exploring just that with the teenage couple.

The play begins with the famous lines, “two households both alike in dignity” retold in several different languages, which emphasises the story’s relevance across cultures and time. The set is full of heavy symbols, from Egyptian gods to Catholic emblems, conveying how tradition and religion can sometimes divide rather than unite. And in a celebrity obsessed society where self-harming and suicides amongst the young and famous are seen as anything from tragic to glamorous, it is Romeo and Juliet who are the early instigators.

Here we have peeping-Tom meets teenage angst in Romeo, he has a camera and takes pictures of the audience and walks around with his headphones on. As for Juliet it is Lily Allen circa 2006 meets an emo, she chews gum and wears Converses. The costumes work perfectly, it is only Romeo and Juliet who are wearing modern day clothing, which highlights how they are similar and unlike their family members. Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale play the young couple perfectly, and Jonjo O’Neill’s Mercutio is the crowd pleaser. A hit.

Runs till 27 August.

To see or not to see: * * * * *


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