Review: Omidaze – Romeo and Juliet @ WMC

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Omidaze ProductionsRomeo and Juliet
Western Studio, Wales Millennium Centre
Thursday 27th April 2017

What is there to do today with a play like Romeo and Juliet? In Cardiff alone, there has been a flurry of stagings for the last four years (at least) and a new production regarding the theme of suicide is also round the corner. In no way have we been bereft of these star crossed lovers.

Omidaze have turned Shakespeare on its head in a production which incorporates circus elements in an attempt to rejuvenate the play. What might be a fantastic idea for A Midsummer Night’s Dream or even Twelve Night, here is unclear and feels like a total flight of fancy. In no way do these aerial acts add to the dramatic bite of the work, nor do they even wow us in their execution. The idea of having circus work here is flat and is at times simply uninspired.

The performances are youthful and make their mark on the Bard’s poetry. Some lighting and sound work have some stylised moments and costumes range from skip trips, to down right tacky grunge. Dramatic pacing was lacking, even with the severe cuts made to the text. An intermission is essential, with the so-called immersive elements of the shows having the spectators rarely resting their bums for too long.

Though great use of the Western Studio is apparent, it didn’t call for a confusing introduction outside in the foyer. Here audiences for other shows mingled and there was a clamour to see what was going on, which remained infuriating. The Studio is what would have worked better for WNO’s anti production of Le Vin herbé, another work trying too hard to push above it weight in scope and execution.

Romeo and Juliet is a play that should become forgotten, or at the very least given respite. What is left to do with it other than heightened experimentation or standardised banality? This show was somewhere in the middle of these two.

Unsure? Go see and judge yourselves.

Rating: 2 stars

Romeo and Juliet continues at the WMC till 14th May 2017.

Cover photo:

Related articles and info:

Archive: Review: Henry VI @ Wales Millennium Centre

Review: WNO – The Merchant of Venice @ WMC

Review: WNO – Macbeth @ WMC 

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