The Globe: ‘Romeo and Juliet’ review – Imi Peterson

Friday the 23rd of June, a seemingly unassuming date (Brexit vote anniversary aside) saw what can only be described as the theatre trip to end all theatre trips. Meeting at the front of school, our eyes were greeted by the rainbow of middle class teenagers sporting the classic combination of checkered shirts and chinos as we waited with baited-breath to be able to board the beautiful new school mini bus, with its blue and green stripes making us all jump at the thought of its ‘pleather’ interior. But the fun had only just begun, as boarding the train from Manningtree station brought its own adventures, as anyone in carriage E was treated to William Walkington’s riveting stories and Isabella Durrant accidentally assaulting woman with a baggy meal ‘veggie roll’.

After an hour of looking out of the train window with headphones in pretending to be starring in an Adele music video, we arrived.

Liverpool station greeted us warmly as we gathered under the huge sign to be briefed on the day’s events, and after dividing into Hodson’s, Gould’s and Pearson’s groups, we began the trek to find the theatre. The described ‘20 minute walk’ became apparent that it would only be a 20 minute walk if you were in fact an Olympic sprinter, as the clan of RHS pupils spread across the pavements, waiting awkwardly every now and then at a crossing, where the Acting Head of English, in the late Autumn of his temporary reign, bellowed about only crossing exactly when the green man would appear (common sense had NO place in such affairs, we were explicitly told). Upon finally reaching The Globe, we had a brief break at the Tate Modern, where a stack of shiny new £5 notes were produced as if the Acting Head of English were in fact a character from GTA, dishing them out to make amends for our missed dinner. The group later reconvened to begin the performance, with unsuspecting faces as to what we would later witness.

‘Unsuspecting faces’: the RHS lit crowd was appalled by acts of violence and sexuality: self-cleavering of Tybalt’s hand, burials, grinding and YMCA tribute to name but a few.

This particular performance of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was by no means a traditional retelling. Although the dialogue was mostly faithful to the original script, the opening set the tone for the rest of the play well. As two women were wheeled in on surgical tables, a sheet was lifted to reveal a baby-sized casket between both of their legs, obviously foreshadowing the deaths of their children which ends the play: a graphic reference to the ‘loins’ of tragedy detailed in the prologue. The fight scene was visually incredibly stunning, with two scantily clad women dancing and offering boxing gloves to the actors, with heavy dub music and strobe lights creating a fast paced scene, whilst red streamers shot across the audience. The ‘emo’ sense of the play was most notably conveyed through the clown style makeup worn by all the actors, which deteriorated for the two eponymous characters throughout the play and created both a comical and terrifying look for the others. Post-performance, myself and Georgia Folkard-Smith found ourselves arguing with Mr Hodson most of the way across the Millenium foot-bridge as to the merits of the performers playing Mercutio and Juliet. Personally, I found Mercutio had by far the most moving death  and the character achieved the perfect balance of being a comedic and sympathetic character (and a female, to boot!), whilst Juliet’s melodramatic style worked impressively well for the comedy aspect, but removed from the pathetic element of her death, as her cry was far too cartoonish, and for a woman dying, it was out of character for her need to readjust her way of sitting to be able to fall. However, by far the best moment was the Godzilla coming from the ceiling on a disco ball (if you know, you know).

Post-performance we had the opportunity to eat around the train station, and whilst it seemed a group of teachers and pupils were drawn to ‘Patty and Bun’, where many of us spent our time guessing the name of Burger Bae, and  Xavy, Lewis and Zach decided to challenge their stomachs with  four meals before presently spilling the last on the train home.

It would be an understatement to say the day was a success and we would like to thank all the staff who helped with the trip offering a mixture of sarcastic asides and thought-provoking insights throughout the trip.


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