In a 1912 speech about William Poel's 1905 production of When Poel found that a child of fourteen was wanted, his critics exclaimed ' Ah—but she was an Italian child, and an Italian child of fourteen looks exactly the same as an English woman of forty-five.' William Poel did not believe it.
He said, ' I will get a child of fourteen,' and accordingly he performed [ One of the milestone English productions of the play took place at London's New Theatre in 1935.
The comedy in relies on bawdiness and innuendo, but until the 1960s many productions focused more on the tragedy and romance of the play.
The younger members of Leach’s cast are superb; it’s initially disconcerting to hear them wrestling with iambic pentameters but they pull it off, helped by a lively cast of adolescent extras.
Dan Parr’s Romeo and Tessa Parr’s Juliet look, speak and behave exactly like hormonally-charged teenagers, their love wholly credible.
John Gielgud directed and played Mercutio, Laurence Olivier played Romeo, Peggy Ashcroft played Juliet, and Edith Evans, the Nurse.
Olivier and Gielgud, each fascinated with both Romeo and Mercutio, switched roles after six weeks.
Many of the adults pale by comparison; Keiran Flynn’s Montague and Jack Lord’s Capulet both grumpy older blokes in dark suits, suggesting a pair of teachers attempting to rein in their unruly charges.
There’s a brief glimpse of the Capulet manor as a low-rent boxing gym – a lovely touch which is only seen once.Whether his dramas should be taken as plays or as literature has been disputed. Acted, or seen on the stage, they disclose things hidden to the reader.Read, they reveal what no actor or theater can convey. The first printed text of the play, which was published in 1597, stated that the play had been performed often, "with great applause." The presence of stage directions in this first printed script would suggest that it was written down from the memories of actors following a production; but the first written documentation of a performance comes from the 1662 diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys disliked the play, it must have been well received by others, because another revival opened just a few years later.This version was directed by James Howard, who rewrote the ending of the play and kept the lovers alive.He also staged the original ending, and alternated the sad and happy endings from night to night so that audience members could see whichever they liked!But, overall, an involving, energetic update which takes risks and largely succeeds. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year.