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Review: Nottingham Shakespeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet at Newark Town Hall

A rock and roll retelling of a Shakespeare classic brought love, heartbreak and death to the stage.

Nottingham Shakespeare Company’s tour of Romeo and Juliet called at Newark Town Hall for a performance in support of the mayor’s charities, and wowed the audience with an action packed production.

The title roles were played by Emily Ashberry, as Juliet, and Harriet Cadman, as Romeo, who offered an emotionally charged and believable love story throughout the show.

Nottingham Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet.
Nottingham Shakespeare Company's Romeo and Juliet.

Romeo’s desperation and anguish at his banishment and the supposed death of his lover were tangible, a gut-wrenching pain written across Harriet Cadman’s face.

While rooted in the past with masked balls and swords, Nottingham Shakespeare Company successfully injected a level of modernity into the show, through a wardrobe consisting of coloured leather jackets and rock-and-roll inspired outfits in the colours of the rival houses, the Montagues and Capulets.

Amid the grief of Shakespeare’s tale, Alex Chalk offered endless comedic respite as the overdramatic and outrageous nurse, and Toni Tailor-Bird presented moments of calm as well-meaning Friar Laurence.

The cast was completed by Laurence James-Davis, Ken Ogborn, Elliot Mattingley, Michelle-Louise Wright, Olivia Newton and Cat Prescott, all of who offered up stellar performances and embodied the characters from the historic text.

The tour also marked Cat Prescott’s Shakespearean directorial debut.

Nottingham Shakepeare Company’s Romeo and Juliet runs in venues across Nottinghamshire until Saturday, when its final performance will be held at Southwell Minster.

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