Sunday, July 13, 2008


I went to see Shakespeare's R&J performed in the open air at AbbeyFest last night.
Four Catholic schoolboys "get the act of contrition and the conjugation of Latin verbs out of their system by meeting secretly, as if in a midsummer night's dream" to act out the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet. They soon become swept away, and the rigidity of their daily lives begin to parallel the lives of the characters in distant Verona: roles in the family, roles in society and the roles played by men and women seem to make all the sense in the world, and then suddenly, they seem to make no sense at all. Perception and understanding are turned upside down as the fun of play-acting turns serious and the words and meanings begin to hit home and universal truths emerge.
Personally I could have just done with a production of Romeo and Juliet unencumbered with such a framing but it was still pretty good. If I may be allowed a small quibble, Catholic public school boys in the 50s would be struggling with the Holy Ghost not the Holy Spirit.

The author blogs at The developing production blogged at and blogs its tour at

For all my earlier reservations, I think it is rather splendid to be able to read the actor playing Romeo's thoughts about his developing performance.

You can still catch the last performance at the Mills tonight.

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