BARE THE MUSICAL (Bare: A Pop Opera) debuted at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles, California, running from October 2000 to 25 February 2001.
The year is 2000, this thought-provoking rock musical is set within a private Catholic co-ed high school, St Cecilia’s Boarding School. We see the auditions and the rehearsals of the high school’s musical version of Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET.
Aussie actors continue to make a big impact when they leave our shores. Take Luke Edward Smith, the 30-year-old with the boyish good looks, who is cutting a fine figure on the New York stage with a succession of Shakespeare roles and a number of films in the pipeline.
Roles in Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice are coming up; and the feature film To Tokyo is set for release later this year.
Born in Sydney into a family of aircraft engineers, aviators and mechanics – Luke (improbably!) caught the stage ‘bug’ at high school after auditioning for its production of The KIng and and continued on to tertiary drama school, completing a Bachelor of Creative Arts through the Wesley Institute (now Excelsia) and eventually to New York’s famous Lee Strasberg Institute.
The Royal Shakespeare Company, presents for the first time in 45 years and performed in full production, Shakespeare’s exuberant romantic comedy THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre main stage at Stratford-upon-Avon, and then broadcast live and digitally streamed to cinema audiences all around the world. You will love The Two Gentlemen of Verona, so long as you enjoy Shakespeare.
But soft, what light through yonder projector booth breaks? Have we but not just had a cinematic retelling of the story of the star crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet?
Did we not sign off on Baz’s dazzling take on the Bard’s teen tragics as the definitive. A glance at the calendar shows that was so last century. Was it really nearly twenty years ago?
And so the time is ripe to conjure a new screen version of the Verona tale, scripted by none other than Julian Fellowes, Academy Award Winning writer of Gosford Park and creator of Downton Abbey and directed by Calabrian born Carlo Carlei.
With Kip Williams’s current production of R and J audiences get a bold, brash and powerful reworking of the Bard’s star crossed lovers tale.
Everything is big and dramatic and vivid as…one suspect that he was more than a little encouraged by Bazmark’s film to do something similar in a theatrical vein.
Plenty of dollars have been spent on the set and staging,- David Fleischer- which features multiple revolves and ‘boxed’ sets, and the costumes- Anna Lise Phillips as Juliet’s mother comes out in a lavish, extreme pink dress- everywhere there is opulence…extravagance.
Alan John’s, together with Nate Edmonson’s, soundscape works in well with the narrative, mixing cutting edge music bytes with orchestral tones.
Williams’s production, with lighting man Nicholas Rayment’s work, is visually stunning. Williams’s staging is excellent. The scene where Juliet is at the deep back of the theatre in just the barest of lighting, as she waits for Romeo’s appearance is mesmeric.
As is Eamon Farren as he makes his dramatic entrance, full of bravado, that kicks off the second half.
As the star crossed lovers, Eryn Jean Norvill and Dylan Young shine brightly. During the show they have to make some direct audiences from the front centre of the stage and they do so confidently and with eloquent phrasing.
Others to stand out in the cast include some highly experienced performers,- Colin Moody as Juliet’s Dad, Julie Forsyth as her Nurse and Mitchell Butel as the Friar.
Highly recommended, this Sydney Theatre Company production runs at the Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House until November 2. It is a long night, running over two and a half hours, but worth every minute.
It’s the weekend. You are looking through the entertainment guide for something to do. You check out the theatre section. There’s not much that takes your fancy. And then you spot something. A company, the Impulse Theatre Company, is doing the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet but they’re giving it a contemporary setting, resetting it at the time of the Cronulla Race Riots that took place in December 2005. The show’s promo line,-‘Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Cronulla’….It sounds interesting…Let’s do it!
Clever concepts don’t always convert. This is the case with this re-imagining of the Bard’s classic in the setting of the Cronulla riots. It may well have been a good pitch but it doesn’t make for a great fit.
The Cronulla riots were the result of tension, over a long period of time, between local residents and people from a Middle Eastern background, mainly from the Western suburbs, who were coming into the area on weekends. The riots had nothing to do with warring families nor was the racial conflict the breeding ground of a romance for the ages….
Thankfully, Wallace only gives this angle to the narrative a very light brush! He starts strongly with the replaying of old video footage from the riots, and then the staging of the Cronulla beach scene where a local Aussie woman is sunbaking and being harassed by Lebanese guys however by play’s end titles flash across the back wall saying that we are now in Mantua. From Cronulla to Mantua in a flash….
All is not lost! Impulse’s production proves to still be worth catching, as the result of a very committed cast and some good really good performances, particularly from the supporting cast. Bryan Hajduczoh as Mercutio and Alex Bryan-Smith as Tybalt impress as the impulsive foes. Lisa Peers, the real-life mother of Rainee Lyleson who played Juliet, gave, for me, the performance of the night, playing Juliet’s Nurse as well as Lady Montague (quite indiscernible in this role). Alan Faulkner impressed in multiple roles as well as delivering Shakespeare’s wonderful prologue.
Impulse Theatre Company’s production of ROMEO AND JULIET opened at the King Street Theatre, corner King Street and Bray Street, Newtown on Wednesday 31 July and plays until Saturday 24 August, 2013.
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