"A classic is born anew"
by James Bretton for remotegoat on 06/06/09

I like Shakespeare. At the risk of sounding unoriginal, I think he is, well, the greatest British playwright of all time. Many people think he is the greatest British playwright of all time. In fact, were my ignorance not so great, I could place him amongst all playwrights - I'm sure that even amongst his international peers, he'd be up there, he is so beloved. There's even a special word for the most ardent of William's admirers - bardophilia. My point is this: when the original text is so good, why do people insist on messing about with it?

Well, in this case, I'd say that it was a good idea. "Romeo and Juliet" has been updated, and re-imagined, and yes, it's a good thing.

The premise is this: set in an all girl's school, the headmistress has banned all works by 'dead white males' - which obviously includes our beloved William. Some of the pupils decide to stage it secretly, rehearsing in the basement, until they are discovered by matron...

The performances and direction are strong. And the vision is original. I have respect for a company who is so brave with such a well known and well loved play. I am reliably informed by the 'blurb' that the play is also inspired by 'dead poet's society,' albeit a female version. It is good to see lots of female actors really having the chance to perform really meaty and complex parts.

This production manages to bring an inspired new slant to a well worn classic without feeling like it's forced a strange or unlikely structure onto it.

If you're a bit of a bore, and can't bear to see the bard messed with, don't bother. If you want to see an inspired and brave interpretation of a classic, I recommend you come and see this.

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