Set play: Romeo and Juliet

27th April 2001 at 01:00

Touring production by Wild Thyme

The Wild Thyme company of 12 actors will present a fast-moving version of the star-crossed lovers' tragedy on a set that echoes its original Elizabethan staging.

With a setting in Elizabethan Ireland, director Guy Retallack feels the Irish accents "will give the language a natural, inhabited feel, so often neutralised in Received Pronunciation".

Also, the setting underlines the Catholic context of the play, so evident in its imagery and action. But Retallack emphasises that the enmity of the Montagues and Capulets is not Protestant versus Catholic. "Both families come from the same community. And as so often in tight communities, they are divided by a long-ago incident that everyone has quite forgotten. They just hate each other because they do."

Retallack is attracted by the lyrical verse of the play as much as by the story: "It's an intensely poetic play. For actors the challenge is how to perform the poetry dramatically."

The production will present the play as a tragedy not of fate, but of character. Retallack stresses that "both sets of parents seem incapable of communicating with their children. Capulet adores Juliet, but he loves her too much."

Touring to Wakefield, Harrogate, Hull, Liverpool, Swindon, Dartford, Torquay, Truro, London. Information: 0208 343 3828

A longer version of this review appears in this week's Friday magazinenbsp;

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