“If love be rough with you, be rough with love”
So having managed to stand through King Lear and partake of a lovely dinner, the evening saw a second visit to Rupert Goold’s highly entertaining Romeo & Juliet. I haven’t got a huge amount to say about this that I didn’t already say in my original review, it really is as fresh and exciting an interpretation of this play that you will ever see, it feels like it could have been written yesterday, so persuasive is the pulsing heart of this production with its innovative immediacy.
I’d actually decided not to see the show again when it came to the Roundhouse in the winter as I thought I didn’t want my happy memories of seeing it at the Courtyard to be affected. But talking to people who did go persuaded me it might be a good thing and I am so glad that I did go again as I felt the production has matured into something richer and stronger. And knowing what the directorial flourishes were meant that I was able to focus more elsewhere, on the subtleties, the little touches that passed me by and enjoying the sheer quality of the performances, especially from the great seats we forked out for, on the front row of the circle facing the stage.
Gale’s Juliet is dark and moody, beautifully self-possessed and utterly convincing in tracing the tragic journey of her passion and Troughton’s Romeo matches her in the headlong rush to follow his emotions, regardless of the consequences of fully embracing their all-encompassing teenage love: they are such a convincing teenage couple, it would be nigh on impossible not to be moved by them. But the strength of ensemble around them is what really elevates this production: Noma Dumezweni’s pipe-smoking, wise-cracking Nurse and Jonjo O’Neill’s deeply sexy and passionately wild Mercutio are the best, but I enjoyed Dyfan Dwyfor’s dippy Peter and Christine Entwisle’s anguished Lady Capulet, something of a victim herself, as trapped in society as her daughter fears she will end up and dominated by the cruel hand of Richard Katz’s Capulet.
It’s a while since I saw the show originally so I didn’t notice too much that had changed although there has been an amendment to the ending, only small but beautifully judged and providing a neat symmetry to the opening. But otherwise, this Romeo & Juliet remains a seriously sensational production and a great way to experience the new space of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.