A fantastic production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is playing now at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct. The famous love story of two star crossed lovers set in Verona , Italy is still famous today as it was when it was written in 1597. Although the story of Romeo and Juliet has origins in Italy as early as 1320, long before Shakespeare was born, it was his play that has transformed this story into an ageless classic that is still relevant today.
The current local production at the Westport Country Playhouse is a worthy interpretation of this timeless classic. Directed by Mark Lamos who has been described as “one of the finest Shakespearean directors in the world”. Mr. Lamos and his team has assembled a wonderful cast and with beautiful and rich costume design by Fabian Fidel Aguilar which helps capture the rich setting of the play.
Shakespeare’s style of writing in iambic pentameter is somewhat challenging to follow at first when the play opens. The actors stress alternative syllables in the verse. However as the play moves onward your ear becomes attuned to the complex language and its delivery, and it is not only enjoyable, but quite brilliant.
The story of Romeo and Juliet is well known, but for those who need a refresher, the story takes place in the city of Verona Italy where two families, the Capulet’s and the Montague’s are at war with each other. Her we meet Juliet who is just 14 and whose father has plans to marry her off to a man she does not know or love. At a chance meeting at a party, Juliet encounters Romeo who is a member of the rival family. It is indeed love at first sight, but a love that is not acceptable to either family. The young lovers have their own plans, and as the audience will find they will wind up together, but not as they had certainly planned.
The cast of mostly members of Actors Equity include a truly moving performance by Nicole Rodenburg as Juliet (she has trained at the Shakespeare Globe Theater in London). Her performance was for us the highlight of the evening, innocent yet complex as she brings the character of Juliet to life. James Cusati-Moyer as Romeo does a fine job and Patrick Andrews commands the stage as Mercutio. Alison Cimmet plays Capulet’s wife, Felicity Jones Latta offers an emotional and moving performance as the Nurse, and Peter Francis James is captivating as Friar Lawrence. A fine cast also rounds out the rest of the players. The set is somewhat minimal in the style, yet colorful of the plays of the period, but Juliet’s iconic balcony was present and well incorporated into the stage.
A wonderful production with first rate acting and direction. If you want to see a Shakespeare play and have not, or it has been a long time since you have seen one, then please get tickets to this brilliant show.
Now through November 19th at The Westport Country Playhouse
Westport Country Playhouse
25 Powers Court Westport Ct.
tel. 203.227.4177 web http://www.westportplayhouse.org
review written by Frank Wallace and Irene Young Wallace
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