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Verona gets street cred

Set in a southern Italian peasant community, Michael Attenborough's RSC production of Romeo and Juliet is hot in all senses of the word. There is a rapport between the lovers (Ray Fearon and Zo Waites) and a sense of headlong incident leading to an inevitable, tragic conclusion. Death is present from the moment the bodies of the lovers are seen on stage as the play opens. Tempers are on a knife-edge in this Verona; all the street deaths are credible in the context of this tempestuous, inward-looking community. Mercutio (Chook Sibtain) makes a particular focus for the sense of young waste.

HEATHER NEILL.

At the Swan Theatre in Stratford until February 11, then on tour until May (details: Jane Ellis 01789 265319)

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