March 6-10, 2001
The Marlowe Society
Director: Simon Godwin
Cambridge Evening News review of the production:
"The passion, humour and fast-moving action in the production of Romeo and Juliet at the Arts is enough to hold audiences right to the bitter end.The main players and supporting cast of Cambridge University's Marlowe Dramatic Society gave compelling performances.
"The production is set in the 1950s and although it was difficult to work out what suits, ties and Alice bands brought to the play, which could not have been achieved with doublets and corsets, the costumes did not detract from the production. The scenery was very sparse simple blocks which were rotated to suggested different parts of Verona but the acting was strong enough to make elaborate props and backdrops unnecessary.
"Tom Hiddleston made a convincing and likeable lovesick Romeo but was at times overshadowed by the energy and bravado of Jot Davies as Mercutio. Lydia Fox at times came across as a slightly nonchalant Juliet it was difficult to believe she was head over heels in love with Romeo but she brought out the humour in many of her lines. Carla Calimani made a hilarious nurse to Juliet, and Lily Bevan was equally strong as the partying Lady Capulet, who clutched a cocktail glass through most of the scenes."
Shakespeare with the Fellini touch: Joanne Riley spoke to producer, Catherine Large about the production, which promises to be as romantic, funny and scary as love itself:
In the swirling colours of the Italian carnival, Romeo and Juliet meet and their love is born. On a simple set, the Marlowe Society invites the audience to enter a city of secrets where two young people make the ultimate sacrifice.
Catherine said: "It is a speedy, swift version of the play. We have tried to focus on the main story and the language. In the film starring Leonardo di Caprio there was a lot of action, but in our adaptation we return to language and the theatre."
The Marlowe Society's version of the play is set in 1950s Italy. "We wanted to make the story more relevant for people today but it is still very obviously not in the present time," said Catherine. "We have used the influence of Fellini feature films set in the 1950s to create the atmosphere."
It is the Society's first Romeo and Juliet since 1952, when Dadie Rylands directed John Barton, Peter Hall, Tony Church, Tony White, Mark Boxer... Catherine said the young cast of this latest production, all students at Cambridge University, hoped to offer a fresh perspective on Shakespeare. She said: "The production should appeal to everyone. Romeo and Juliet is the original drama with fighting and love and our production cuts right to the core of the story. It should be very exciting to watch.