Nick Le Mesurier reviews Romeo and Juliet at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Brash, flash and full of fun, Oddsocks' production of Romeo and Juliet had the audience gripped from the start. Their two households were indeed alike in dignity, one a family of Mods, the other of Rockers. Verona is Brighton, Tybalt rides a motor bike, Paris plays guitar, and Romeo’s a geek. There wasn’t much reverence or textual accuracy, but some of the funniest, fastest slapstick theatre we’re likely to see in a long time.
Oddsocks have been doing this sort of thing for a while, and have got it off to a tee. The cast of six play all the roles and a full on rock band to boot. The names say it all. Andy Barrow, the Director and leader of the pack of greasy Capulets plays a fantastically souped up Tybalt, aka Will Barrow all the way from the Black Country. He’s Lemmy to Gavin Harrison’s Slash, aka Paris, aka Justin Thyme. Don’t forget Rebecca Little, aka Isla White, aka a very warm and friendly Nurse. Matthew Burns is determined young lover Romeo, aka Chris P Bacon, and Pippa Lewis is his rock chick Juliet, aka Daff Odill. Alexander Bean is the fat Friar, aka Frank Furter, who sends the lovers on their way. Oh, and don’t forget the audience, who play a starring role in this marvellous send up of end-of-the pier frolics cum high drama cum rock and mod revival.
It’s a summer show to savour, like the saveloys served up at the Montague’s caff’; and like the British summer, over far too soon.
* Romeo and Juliet runs until Thursday June 22. Visit www.belgrade.co.uk to book.