As part of my Silver arts award, I went to see a production of Romeo and Juliet at Grosvenor Park in Chester. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon although the weather was ridiculously hot and almost unbearable till the mid day heat passed.
The theater was circular which I liked and there was plenty of space to allow you to be comfortable and not cramped.
I was apprehensive with regards to whether I would enjoy this performance as I have only ever enjoyed feature film and Hollywood adaptations of Romeo and Juliet, and I often feel performances at the Globe can be very pretentious; however I was pleasantly surprised, enjoying the play.
The staging and props were very basic and simple but I saw this as a positive thing; elaborate sets were not necessary and in fact could have detracted from the actors performances.
The acting from the players was very good overall. Mercutio and Benvolio provided humor executing the comedic roles well. The pair often ‘Broke the fourth wall’ along with Romeo they frequently addressed audience members. Mercutio also stole the drink of an audience member. This playful audience interaction is true to actual performances in Shakespeare’s plays when he was alive and was a major draw in attracting people to his performances.
Romeo and Juliet also used comedy; whilst obviously to a lesser and more subtle extent, this was welcome as it provided light and shade in the dark storyline.
Romeo and Juliet did not over dramatize the balcony scene either. In some productions I feel it is too heavy and can come across whiny seeming to drag on for a long time. Instead it was one of my favorite scenes in this production.
Another performance I enjoyed was that of Juliet’s father who I actually believed was mad at Juliet at points. This shows how convincing the actor was in his portrayal of annoyance at his daughter’s stubbornness.
I liked the choice of costumes in the performance. Although I adore the ball gowns used in films of R and J, these are how they would have been in the actual story (just like the films have shots of the scenery in Italy) rather than how they would have been when the play was first performed so this probably kept to tradition of how the play has been put on in the past. Another thing to add here would be the incidental music, the chorus band were great at adding to the atmosphere.
All in all I would rate this show highly, I am glad I got the opportunity to go, so thanks to the cast, team and staff at the park and at Chester performs for a pleasant afternoon.
If you would like to see a show at the Open air theater then here is the link- http://www.grosvenorparkopenairtheatre.co.uk/
Other performances include Wind in the Willows (Which sounds AMAZING especially if you have kids – or not; Everyone loves Mr. Toad!) and The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Thanks for reading!