Thursday, 21 August 2008

HOT: Romeo and Juliet, Middle Temple Hall

This production was a chance for me to visit the normally closed-to-visitors Elizabethan Middle Temple Hall, rather than to experience my third R&J in 2 months. The wood-beamed and crested hall is steeped in 4oo years of history, including the fact that it was the site of the first recorded performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. The actors used the space effectively, using both entrances, the different levels of seating, a tomb-like block in the centre and the ornately carved second tier as Juliet's balcony. The only thing that was disconcerting was the whole thing was done with the house lights up - I think Romeo and Juliet's final death scenes could have done with some mood lighting. The key characters were quite well played but not spectacular - Juliet was a bit too mature and self-assured to be a teenage lover, and Romeo's rhythms sometimes lost the meaning of the text.

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