★★★★½ Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage
Juliet and Romeo: A Guide to Long Life and Happy Marriage
Lost Dog somehow conjure a fresh perspective on Romeo & Juliet in this hilarious and moving dance theatre imagining of what might have been…
Imagine a world where Romeo & Juliet was factual, and then imagine if that perfect, tragic ending wasn’t true – and that instead the star-crossed lovers endured the tragedy of a long-term relationship founded, and foundering, on unrealised expectations.
So it is that Solene Weinachter and Ben Duke present their unique take on Juliet & Romeo – 40-ish, jaded, sardonic and, in the case of Romeo, almost certainly going through some kind of mid-life crisis.
Taking inspiration not only from the original text but also more recent, mass-appeal interpretations (not least Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet), this is a captivating 80 minutes which not only imaginatively squeezes new life and new perspectives out of a well-worn story, but does so whilst effortlessly mashing up dance, theatre, comedy and therapy session!
Weinachter and Duke are instantly engaging and throughly believable as lived-in older models of those well-known loved-up teenagers. Recognisably they ‘are’ Romeo & Juliet – but now they seem more relatable than ever, viewed through the perspective-shifting prism that is real life.
The music choices occasionally veer towards the predictable, but then sway back to the inspired; the dance interludes are energetic, sensual, emotive and engrossing. And above all else, the wit and warmth which underscores the sadness, regret and longing is handled with the utmost respect, care and conviction.
A bittersweet night at the theatre – funny, occasionally guffaw-inducingly so, but also melancholic and meditative – Juliet and Romeo is a fine addition to the vast roster of works inspired by the Bard, and breathes new, 21st century life back into the hackneyed old tale of boy meets girl.