ROMEO AND JULIET
For the past eighteen years, Bard on the Beach has been re-enacting Shakespeare’s poetic repertoire of plays at Kitsilano’s Vanier Park. On Thursday, July 4th, at 8:00 pm CJSF’s Trevor Fallis watched Rome & Juliet and has this to say:
Upon arriving at the venue one is certain to notice how friendly and helpful the staff is. To be sure, the Bard’s staff contributes to the festival’s pleasant and exciting atmosphere.
The Main stage seats approximately 200 people, arranged in a semi-circle facing the set. The stage provides a glimpse into the architecture of the American southwest (for the Shrew), and elements from Italy (for R&J), including a balcony for the famous courting scene between Romeo and Juliet. Beyond the set soar the coastal mountains, providing a majestic visage for the audience. Props were minimally used for R&J. Swords, of course, were used in the well-choreographed fight sequences. And torches were handled by some the actors in order to illustrate the scenes which take place during the night. Apart from these the play was very modern. Costumes were not the typical tights and puffy attire people come to expect from a Shakespeare play; instead, the actors were dressed in contemporary costume, and the women wore bosom revealing tops!
Director Dean Paul Gibson did a wonderful job in fusing together scenes which is quite a feat considering R&J’s stark contrast of humorous, violent, love, and melancholy tragic scenes. The tempo, fluidity, and visual presentation contributed to the overall enjoyment of the performance.
Now for the acting. You will not be disappointed with any of the performances. All were competent and convincing; however, there were only two, in my opinion, that stood out as being praiseworthy: Lois Anderson who plays Juliet’s nurse and Bob Fraser who plays Mercutio. Lois is Juliet’s fiery, sensual nurse. Within moments I realized that she has talent which surpasses her counterparts. Lois captivates with her lithe, theatrically precise movements, superb vocal range, and her expressive eyes and lips. Lois had everyone in laughter with her ability to communicate Shakespeare’s wit. Lois is a true entertainer and skilled actor. She invigorated the crowd like a swift sea breeze on a hot summer’s day. Bob plays Romeo’s confident, quick-witted friend, part of the Montague clan. Bob, like Lois, had the crowd in an uproar. He conveys Mercutio’s propensity for lively banter like a legend of stand-up comedy. He was truly a joy to watch. Bob also demonstrated that he has a flair for the dramatic in his angry fight scene with Tybalt. Bravo Lois and Bob!
Taylor Trowbridge playing Juliet, and Kyle Rideout playing Romeo both skillfully portray their respective characters’ profound passion and zealous commitment to one another, a commitment which of course, ends with their tragic deaths. Both Kyle and Taylor did a good job.
My only real problem with the play was the acoustics. The sound of the actors voices tends to drift out to False Creek like a raft floating atop the sea’s current. Other than that, you’re in for a wonderfully entertaining production by one of the true master’s of language. It is well worth the money!
Bard on the Beach
For the past eighteen years, Bard on the Beach has been re-enacting Shakespeare’s poetic repertoire of plays. This year Bard is performing: Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew on the Main stage, and Julius Caesar, Timon of Athens on the Studio stage. In addition, Bard will host some Special Events; be sure to check their web-site at; www.bardonthebeach.org, or phone the Box Office 604 737 0625 for more details. Bard’s season sponsor is Starbucks Coffee.