Despite the all-too-well-known sticky end the lovers come to in Shakespeare’s original, Renegade Theatre’s take on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ left us dancing in our seats and shouting for more in an encore that lasted 15 minutes. We’d just been treated to an hour and 20 minutes of muscle-rippling breaking and stunt-dance, with minimal depressing death, some body-popping and, unexpectedly, a lot of German!
A multi-national cast make Shakespeare their own from the beginning by taking it through a range of European languages (Romanian included) and using mostly German and some English throughout the rest of the show. We meet Mercutio first, trying to sell us a mobile phone, against a background of scaffolding and screens. Computer graphics and projections take us from the ‘Montis’ territory, to the haunt of the ‘Caps’. Ok, the names are a bit shaky, but the dancing was balanced from the core; right from the start the athleticism of these dancers is there for us to drop our jaws at. The ‘Montis’ were the clowns, acting ape (quite literally with their impressions of monkeys on the bars) and messing about with masks for very comic effects. The love scene was beautiful, quiet, slow and balletic whilst still keeping to the strong urban theme.
In short, definitely the happiest tragedy you’re ever likely to see.