Shakespeare’s R&J reworks Romeo and Juliet

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Robyn Sassen

A freelance arts writer since 1998, I fell in love with the theatre as a toddler, proved rubbish as a ballerina: my starring role was as Mrs Pussy in Noddy as a seven-year-old, and earned my stripes as an academic in Fine Arts and Art History, in subsequent years. I write for a range of online and print publications, including the Sunday Times, the Mail & Guardian and artslink.co.za and was formerly the arts editor of the SA Jewish Report, a weekly newspaper with which I was associated for 16 years.
Robyn Sassen

R&J

BOYS will be boys: Tailyn Ramsamy (Student 2/Juliet/Benvolio), with Matthew Baldwin (Student 1/Romeo). Photograph courtesy Daily Maverick.

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IT WAS ALWAYS the love affair to end all love affairs and give birth to a myriad of platitudes and clichés about the universal tale of boy meeting girl, in spite of social barriers, and boy loving girl in the midst of catastrophe. Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been reinterpreted in easily a million different contexts, since 1594, when it was written. Arguably one of the wiser and more sophisticated versions of this tragedy graced the stage of Montecasino early this month in a brief season. Performed by four actors and crafted to fit in the context of an illicit play within a play about boys, it’s a work which, directed by Fred Abrahamse, offers a gloss not only on the complexity of young love, but on the testosterone pumping energy of four boys in a Catholic high school.

And all the elements are in place, from a set that credibly…

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