Review: Juliet and Her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans

PUBLISHED: 10:28 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 14:33 11 October 2017

Juliet and her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans [Picture: Nick Clarke]

Juliet and her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans [Picture: Nick Clarke]

Abbey Theatre

Madeleine Burton reviews Company of Ten’s production of Juliet and Her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans.

Juliet and her Romeo can be seen at The Abbey Theatre Studio in St Albans Juliet and her Romeo can be seen at The Abbey Theatre Studio in St Albans

An adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the other end of the age spectrum is tailor-made for many local drama groups.

And the Company of Ten is no exception with its current production of Juliet and Her Romeo, adapted by Sean O’Connor and Tom Morris from the original play about the warring Capulet and Montague families.

For it gives its talented cast of mostly older Company of Ten members another opportunity to act roles they would never have expected to play again.

Set in Verona Care Home, it still has the belligerent families but this time one is in the private wing and the other in the public part of the establishment.

Juliet and her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans [Picture: Nick Clarke] Juliet and her Romeo at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans [Picture: Nick Clarke]

Instead of Shakespeare’s youthful star-crossed lovers, we have a geriatric Romeo and Juliet, not to mention an elderly Mercutio, Benvolio and Tybalt.

Lady Capulet becomes Ms Capulet, the daughter of Juliet who wants to see her married off to the enfeebled Paris because he is rich and the cost of her mother’s care home bills will fall on him.

And Friar Lawrence – arguably the dullest character in the original – becomes a trendy cleric named just Lawrence.

When we meet the characters at the start of the play, it is all set up for a comedy but of course, because of its affinity to the original, it isn’t.

And that maybe is where the two authors missed a trick because it could have been hilarious.

Instead you really have to suspend the belief that the two elderly protagonists would behave like the young and naïve Romeo and Juliet.

Nevertheless, and that is my personal view about the play itself, director Angela Stone and her accomplished team really do it proud.

Graham Boon’s twinkly Romeo and Rosemary Goodman’s Juliet are excellent – the balcony scene is a highlight – and Dewi Williams, Roy Bookham and Tony Bradburn as their aforementioned family members are a delight.

Andrew Baird as Lawrence is a revelation – his wonderful diction and acting talent carries the second part of the production.

Dennis O’Connell Baker’s set design in the confines of the Abbey Theatre Studio is first-rate and the music accompaniment spot on.

• Juliet and Her Romeo runs until this Saturday, October 14, and tickets can be obtained from the box office on 01727 857861 or go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk

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