Charged Lessons in Sexual Harassment – Sunday Age (25/12/94)

Charged Lessons In Sexual Harassment
Agenda; Theatre
Steven Carroll
25 December 1994
Sunday Age

`Romeo And Juliet’ by William Shakespeare, an Elston, Hocking, Woods production at the Old Melbourne Observatory.

 

GLENN ELSTON’S latest outdoor production, `Romeo And Juliet’, is performed at the Old Melbourne Observatory an appropriate place for a story about star-crossed lovers.

 

It is highly accessible Shakespeare, more in a populist vein than for the purists. Even though it is a romantic tragedy, the production has, for the most part, a tremendous sense of fun.

 

The location is effectively used; the floodlit buildings having a touch of the surreal, the slide projections and the music all giving the show more of an atmosphere of an outdoor rock concert than a Shakespeare production.

The fight scenes are also neatly choreographed; realistic, but with more than a dash of cavalier wit. There is an element of theatresports, especially in the post-ball scene featuring Mercutio (Rhys Muldoon), Benvolio (John Davies) and the besotted Romeo (Jack Finsterer).

 

Nadine Garner as Juliet attempts to walk a fine line keeping in mind that Romeo and Juliet are not only a couple of difficult kids, but a couple of difficult roles. On occasions especially in the balcony scene she balances both the girlie naivete and the womanly assurance of her character. On other occasions the balancing act doesn’t work.

 

The outdoor location, for all its liberating aspects, does place restrictions on the actors. Because of the constant need for strong vocal projection, there tends to be little light and shade. Few of the actors Marco Chiappi’s Capulet being an exception seem to have the projection to match the setting.

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