Volcano Theatre Company, The Most Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet

Review in Issue 17-3 | Autumn 2005

Oh my, I really do seem to be collecting new interpretations of Romeo and Juliet! Volcano's 'newly corrected, augmented and amended' version uses the company's trademark 'filming performers while they're performing live' thing that everyone does nowadays. They play the Peeping Tom card, and I appreciate the artistic intention of displacement of the gaze and re-evaluation of the performers' actions, but am never comfortable with the way women are objectified in their productions. But it is a neat way of portraying Friar Laurence's confessional box as an ongoing theme. The programme notes claim proudly that the directors find the play ‘unnecessary and problematic'. The response could be 'well, leave it to those of us who don't' but I shall try to avoid cruelty. But don't think I can avoid saying that Volcano seem, on the evidence of this and other productions, to have a bit of a problem with sex and love. They decide to challenge the one thing in the play that usually remains sacrosanct, no matter how 'contemporary' the interpretation – namely, the love the protagonists have for each other and their fidelity. Does this add an interesting new twist? Well no, it's a different story altogether – less deconstruction than demolition. There are redeeming features: most notably a great set (a teen-dream play-house with a miniature doll's house version manipulated by the Friar) and the energetic and skilled performances, particularly from the two young women in the four-strong cast, Niamh McGrady and newcomer Caryl Morgan (Juliet), whose gorgeously tentative walk around the furniture of the set was a lovely metaphor for teenage trembling-on-the-brink – we really could have done with more of these sort of well-realised theatrical moments.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2005

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-3
p. 30