Regent’s Park Open Air theatre (venue)
24 June 2021 (released)
24 June 2021
Is there a more romantic theatre in London than the Regent’s Park Open Air theatre? Rustling leaves, twinkling lights and warm evenings. A glorious setting for one of the greatest romantic stories…and yet Director Kimberley Sykes resists all obvious choices in this thought-provoking production. Naomi Dawson’s ugly set of scaffolding and rubble, like a decaying building site - never to progress, never to be completed - scars the auditorium. The inhabitants of this Verona are oblivious: they move through the man-made structure, clambering up endless platforms and wriggling through gaps, the inconvenience overlooked as they nurture their loathing of the other.
Cavan Clarke’s Mercutio is stand out. Here is the reason the feud will continue: a compelling and impulsive zealot convinced of his rightness. On the other side, Lord Capulet (a charismatic Andrew French) with a sense of his own amusement but intolerant of any dissent, gives orders to his family and then changes them on a whim.
Nature demonstrates time. Cut-off from nature, the ego reigns without sense of growth or decay. It is the Friar (a superb Peter Hamilton Dyer), calmly cultivating his herbs in rubble patches, who tries to give the lovers more time with devastating consequences.
With no interval due to social distancing, the play benefits from cuts that direct focus to the speed and power of the erupting teenage passion: the momentum of love contrasted with the stagnation of hate.
Until 24th July.