coeurage theatre company Returns with Romeo and Juliet

coueurage theatre company, who last year brought the first production of the Bard’s Double Falsehood to Los Angeles, returns this spring with its interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It is perhaps the most often performed and easiest to understand of Shakespeare’s plays for who doesn’t know the tale of the two star-crossed lovers from feuding houses that ends in both their deaths?

It’s a good choice for the young company that knows how to use the strengths of the intimate theatre to its advantage and has the added feature of a built-in balcony for Juliet. Beautiful costumes, a wandering musician, and simple yet effective scenic elements like a swath of billowing white cloth used late in the show are touches that greatly enhance the traditional staging.

The overall tone of director Jeremy Lelliot’s production, however, is so serious that it often doesn’t allow the scenes between its young lovers to soar. Instead they remain in an almost constant state of melancholy. Sammi Smith captures Juliet’s troubled mind and Jonas Barranca’s intellectual Romeo has the sauntering dispirited romantic down, but missing is the wonder, the feverish declarations of love and all-consuming thrill in their romance. And without the sparkle in Romeo’s eyes when he speaks to the audience of his love, we are deprived of one of his most charming, and very essential, qualities.

In contrast, the comedic characters are given the freedom to fully inhabit their scenes making them a welcome burst of energy each time they enter the room. Lynn Ann Leveridge is absolutely delightful as the jovial Nurse, a bawdy well-endowed woman who never even notices that everyone around her has stopped listening when she goes on and on with her stories. She is often accompanied by fellow servant, Peter (Gedaly Guberek), whose pained expression and well-timed glances will make you laugh out loud.

Franc Ross is compelling as Juliet’s father and TJ Marchbank has designed the effective fight choreography though more than one man needs to be reminded not to grab his sword by the blade. Several of the minor characters would also be well-served by slowing down their delivery. Still, other than a few trifling details, coeurage’s Romeo and Juliet is a well-produced production with obvious care given to its execution. Romeo and Juliet runs through May 20. www.coeurage.org

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: ROMEO AND JULIET (COEURAGE THEATRE): 100% – SWEET : LA Bitter Lemons

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