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PATRICK MARMION reviews Romeo & Juliet

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 9/04/2021 02:38:14 Patrick Marmion for the Daily Mail
a person standing in front of a birthday cake with lit candles: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily MailMailOnline logo

Romeo & Juliet (Sky Arts/NowTV)

Verdict: A little too grown up 

Rating: 3/5

An Elephant In The Garden (barntheatre.org.uk)

Verdict: Animal healing 

Rating: 4/5

Where The Bugaboo Lives (littleangeltheatre.com)

Verdict: Puppets enchant Zoom

Rating: 4/5

 

Prince Charles playing Romeo? Well, not quite, but it was a little disconcerting this week to see the features of the heir apparent in the face of Shakespeare's most famous lover in Romeo & Juliet.

This uncertain pleasure is thanks to the role going to Josh O'Connor - probably best known to readers as the young Charles Windsor in Netflix hit The Crown.

Jessie Buckley twinkles opposite him as Juliet, in a galaxy of theatre stars including Tamsin Greig, Adrian Lester and Lucian Msamati. 

a person holding a candle: Love's young dream? Jessie Buckley twinkles as Juliet opposite Josh O'Connor, who plays Romeo (both pictured) © Provided by Daily MailLove's young dream? Jessie Buckley twinkles as Juliet opposite Josh O'Connor, who plays Romeo (both pictured) a man standing on a stage: O'Connor and Buckley are both in their 30s - almost old enough to be the parents of their teenage characters. (Although with Ian McKellen due to play Hamlet at Windsor later this year, age-appropriate casting seems to be six feet under) © Provided by Daily MailO'Connor and Buckley are both in their 30s - almost old enough to be the parents of their teenage characters. (Although with Ian McKellen due to play Hamlet at Windsor later this year, age-appropriate casting seems to be six feet under)

And what's often called the 'two-hour traffic' of the play has been speeded up to a 90-minute autobahn, thanks to Emily Burns's adaptation filmed at the National Theatre.

O'Connor and Buckley are both in their 30s - almost old enough to be the parents of their teenage characters. (Although with Ian McKellen due to play Hamlet at Windsor later this year, age-appropriate casting seems to be six feet under.)


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The upside of this is that Simon Godwin's moody production has sophistication and depth.

The downside, though, is that sophistication and depth sit awkwardly on characters we love for being spontaneous and free. Put bluntly, they're both old enough to know better!

Josh O'Connor standing in front of a curtain: It was a little disconcerting this week to see the features of the heir apparent in the face of Shakespeare's most famous lover in Romeo & Juliet. This uncertain pleasure is thanks to the role going to Josh O'Connor - probably best known to readers as the young Charles Windsor in Netflix hit The Crown (above) © Provided by Daily MailIt was a little disconcerting this week to see the features of the heir apparent in the face of Shakespeare's most famous lover in Romeo & Juliet. This uncertain pleasure is thanks to the role going to Josh O'Connor - probably best known to readers as the young Charles Windsor in Netflix hit The Crown (above)

Handsomely shot in the style of an Italian old master painting, the film is steeped in chiaroscuro shadows and inky colours.

It starts in a rehearsal room with actors in T-shirts and jeans, but gets dressier: with suits, frocks and sets of chic interiors around Verona. Yearning cello music adds a dreamy, almost zen-like atmosphere. 

If you can keep Prince Charles out of your thoughts, O'Connor makes a brooding, yet self-possessed Romeo. Buckley, meanwhile, is a highly emotional Juliet with a soft Kerry accent.

There's a good deal of very serious alpha-acting going on around the lovers, with Lester presenting a forbidding Prince of Verona, Msamati a frowning Friar Lawrence - and Greig playing Juliet's mother like a grim-visaged prison governor.

The most dynamic and exciting character is Romeo's friend, Mercutio, with Fisayo Akinade fascinatingly androgynous and volatile in that role.

Slick and suave though it looks, it's all a little grown up; and left me craving the sweet recklessness of youth.

 

A story that's better tailored to a younger audience is Michael Morpurgo's An Elephant In The Garden, available from Cirencester's ever-resourceful Barn Theatre.

It's about 15-year-old Lizzie, forced to leave her Dresden home in 1945 after the Allied bombing that reduced the city to ash. 

With her mother - and an elephant rescued from the zoo - they stumble on a Canadian airman and creep to the safety of U.S. forces on the Western front.

Michael Morpurgo's An Elephant In The Garden - available from Cirencester's ever-resourceful Barn Theatre - is about 15-year-old Lizzie, forced to leave her Dresden home in 1945 after the Allied bombing that reduced the city to ash © Provided by Daily MailMichael Morpurgo's An Elephant In The Garden - available from Cirencester's ever-resourceful Barn Theatre - is about 15-year-old Lizzie, forced to leave her Dresden home in 1945 after the Allied bombing that reduced the city to ash

Two detachments of German soldiers are seen off a little too easily, but Simon Reade's adaptation honours the story as romance rather than thriller.

I could also have done with more on the elephant, who's played - along with all the other characters - by Alison Reid, with warmth and innocence. But as ever with Morpurgo, animals come to heal humans... and then return to the background.

Some comic-book Deutsch (cries of 'Achtung!', 'Schnell!' and 'Gott im Himmel!') will fill those who enjoyed war comics with damp-eyed nostalgia. But my 11-year-old was just sold on the story.

 

Very young children will be well served, too, by Where The Bugaboo Lives - an enchanting puppet show live on Zoom from the Little Angel Theatre. 

Based on Sean Taylor and Neal Layton's book, it's the tale of Floyd and Ruby, braving monsters in the valley where they play.

Very young children will be well served by Where The Bugaboo Lives - an enchanting puppet show live on Zoom from the Little Angel Theatre © Provided by Daily MailVery young children will be well served by Where The Bugaboo Lives - an enchanting puppet show live on Zoom from the Little Angel Theatre

A crocodile, mosquito, werewolf, witch and hobgoblin are all defeated with simple bluffs, but it takes the bugaboo's mum to sort out her many-eyed cub, with his purple fur and pointy talons.

Performed with xylophone music in an attic, amid dust sheets, it's Ellie Mills's sets of bedrooms, forests and caves, concealed inside wooden boxes, that make this such a treat - as well as wriggling, giggling puppeteer Jessica Manu.

Pirates who put the ho ho in Yo ho ho...

Pirates Online 

(hippodromecircus.co.uk) 

Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus (shockingly denied government recovery funds) has released a 75-minute film of its Pirate show for £10.

Scottish comedian Johnny Mac leads the way with a medley of panto-style jokes, including a confectionery gag where he's got a Bounty on his head (geddit?).

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Great Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus (shockingly denied government recovery funds) has released a 75-minute film of its Pirate show for £10 © Provided by Daily MailGreat Yarmouth's Hippodrome Circus (shockingly denied government recovery funds) has released a 75-minute film of its Pirate show for £10

MC Jack Jay dresses up as a nice-guy Captain to do battle with his dastardly, irate pirate brother Blackeye (James Franklin).

But it's the acts that blaze the trail - including a trapeze in the rigging of a life-size pirate ship.

Plenty of bang for your buccaneers.

Visit hippodromecircus.co.uk.

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9. huhtikuuta 2021 5:38:14 Categories: Daily Mail

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