Prokofiev And Lady Gaga Team Up In Romeo And Juliet
Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆
Rasta Thomas's Romeo and Juliet brings Shakespeare up to date with pop songs, street dance and even a camp, comedic Mercutio.
The show is a lot of fun, but its eclectic mix of styles often feel at odds with each other. Music ranges from Lady Gaga to Vivaldi (as well as excerpts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet) while choreography encompasses classical ballet, contemporary, hip hop and acrobatics. Just when you’re getting into the party spirit with an upbeat number, the mood suddenly shifts to sombre violins and technical ballet steps. Often, it's difficult to know where you are.
Costumes similarly range from denim hot pants and tie dye t-shirts to traditional corsets and long, sparkly dresses. This juxtaposition doesn’t quite work, though neither does it ruin the narrative or vibrancy of Thomas’s production.
In the leading roles, Adrienne Canterna and Preston Swovelin excel, perfectly conveying two clueless teenagers in love. Canterna — who also choreographed the work — shines, particularly in a solo where she shakes her hips to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream, and in the impassioned scene where she decides to take a sleeping potion (although the difficulty of her situation is greatly undermined by the absence of Lord and Lady Capulet in the cast). Jarvis McKinley’s Mercutio is brilliant, as is Eric Lehn’s hopelessly romantic Paris.
All the ingredients for a great production are here — there are just too many ingredients. With a little refinement and more consistency, Romeo and Juliet could be much improved.
Romeo and Juliet is at the Peacock Theatre until 29 March. Tickets are available from the Sadler's Wells website. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 06 March 2015