Oct 07

The Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet is not to be missed

by Jenna Shummoogum · 0 comments


Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the Bard’s most popular plays, and along with Hamlet, is his most frequently performed play. Romeo and Juliet has all the elements that make a great tragedy: star-crossed lovers, feuding families, tragic death, dramatic poisoning, and sword play. To kick off their season, The Shakespeare Company has decided to take on the play set in Verona. Their production is dynamic, engaging and everything this tale of young love needs to be.

The play conveys a feud between two families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo (a skinny jeans clad Eric Wigston), and his cousin Benvolio (Amy Burks), decide to go to the Capulet’s ball where Romeo falls in love at first sight with Juliet (the ever lovely Allison Lynch). They decide to get married by Friar Lawrence (Joel Cochrane), but not before a brawl breaks out between Juliet’s cousin Tybalt (Ahad Mir) and Romeo’s dear friend Mercutio (Brent Gill). The result is Tybalt and Mercuitio both wind up being killed, and Romeo is banished for Tybalt’s murder. Unaware of their daughter’s marriage, Lord Capulet (Ryan Luhning), and Lady Capulet (Chantal Perron), have decided to marry Juliet to Paris (Tenaj Williams) and threaten to disown her when she doesn’t agree. So distraught, even Juliet’s nurse (Elizabeth Stepkowski Tarhan) cannot console her. Juliet goes to the Friar for help, messages get crossed, and in a twist of fate, both Romeo and Juliet kill themselves for their love.

The Shakespeare Company’s production successfully brings all the elements together on stage to create a moving performance. Burk’s Benvolio is dynamic, and proves that a male role can be fulfilled by a female. Benvolio is sensitive as Burk allows the character to have layers of complexity. Wigston throws himself into the role of Romeo, displaying Romeo’s foolishness and raw emotion. Lynch is graceful and fragile as Juliet, and her innocence shines through in every scene. There are also stand out performances by Luhning as Lord Capulet, balancing between ruthless father and grieving parent, and Tarhan, who is the comedic relief as the bustling, bumbling nurse. Director Ron Jenkins focuses on the key scene in the play to hook the audience, namely the balcony scene. The balcony scene is accented by Lynch’s beauty, gorgeous lighting and two memorable performances. You cannot help but fall in love with love. Although, this love is contrasted with their youth and foolishness throughout the play, it is the balcony scene that is all the buy-in the play needs.

JP Thibodeau’s set design is lovely: lantern and candles adorn the set, lush purple drapes hang in the background, and David Fraser’s lighting design carries us from scene to scene. Peter Moller’s sound design and composition sets the tone in the transitions and gives the entire play its contemporary feel. All this pairs well with Victoria Krawchuk’s costume design.

Brace yourself Calgary. This is the best production of this theatre season so far. This play is not to be missed. Everything comes together so well in Romeo and Juliet that you’ll leave the theatre with tears in your eyes.

The Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet runs until October 17th. More information is available online.

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