Liverpool Everyman’s Rep Company and the Young Everyman Playhouse exploration of young love and transgression, a very 21st century retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, opened last night.
Set in a world of gangs, Nick Bagnall’s production reimagines this classic love tale for modern audiences, exploring sexuality with some of the characters having their gender swapped, including Juliet who will become Julius.
O, be some other name. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee take all myself.
This contemporary view of the play is an edited, fast paced production where there is bloodshed on the streets and family rivalries and arranged marriages are common place. The ‘swords’ of the original will be replaced with the ‘knives’ of today.
George Caple (Romeo) and Elliott Kingsley (Julius) play the star-crossed lovers. Caple graduated from RADA in 2016 and has appeared in Who Cares (Lowry) and Epic Love and Pop Songs (Pleasance) prior to the Everyman Rep Season.
Kingsley came through the theatre’s YEP auditions to take up a training place in the company funded by Everyman alumni and his roles in the Rep Season mark his professional stage debut.
The production also features two YEP members Isobel Balchin (Benvolio) and Alice Corrigan (Balthasar) along with a Women’s Chorus and a further 25 young people as the rival gangs.
Director Nick Bagnall said: “It is a play that is constantly revisited and demands to be placed in modern times to allow it to reflect the lives of young people today.
“We are strongly committed to creating work with and for young people, so bringing the Rep Company together with YEP and Romeo & Juliet in such an exciting way is the perfect choice.”
Also featuring Richard Bremmer as Friar Laurence, Patrick Brennan is the Prince, Tom Kanji plays Tybalt and Friar John and Asha Kingsley plays Lady Capulet.
The Nurse is Melanie La Barrie, Dean Nolan plays Mercutio, Zelina Rebeiro plays Countess Paris and Lord and Lady Montague is played by Liam Tobin and Keddy Sutton.
Romeo & Juliet runs at the Liverpool Everyman until June 7.