What can you do in 20 minutes? Write a grocery list. Meditate. Take a walk around your neighbourhood. Or…
Watch Tale Blazers’ creative and highly entertaining ‘Rosaline and Juliet’.
As in Shakespeare’s famous ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Rosaline is Juliet’s cousin (never seen in that play) and the reason Romeo Montague turns up at enemy-family Capulet’s ball where he meets Juliet. Why? Because he was courting Rosaline. Yep, romantic Romeo swaps one cousin for another – and here we see those cousins deal with that, with wit, with real talk and with love.
Created and performed by Lara Lawman and Lily Roberts, Ju and Ros are brought to modern life, despite their 16th century setting within Juliet’s bedchamber. Two screens serve to create her window, famous for ‘the balcony scene’ in Shakespeare’s play, and we first meet the girls on that very night. Shakespeare’s lines (taken cleverly from more plays than only ‘Romeo & Juliet’) are delivered in a fresh manner, mostly by white-clad Juliet, who also has some fabulous facial expressions. Rosaline – booze-drinking and black-clad – is played with verve and believability throughout, serving both the comedy and the more serious moments beautifully, and both performers show great comic timing.
Tale Blazers theatre company aims to create “irreverent but affectionate reimagining’s of canonical stories with contemporary values at the core” and absolutely achieves that goal. The show is solidly rooted in Shakespeare’s play, explores Juliet and her dilemmas well, and also fleshes out the never-seen Rosaline in a way that makes a great deal of sense and plays out both hilariously and touchingly.
‘Rosaline and Juliet’ includes warmth as well as challenges for the cousins, offers plenty of Shakespearean allusions for those who love to spot them and also provides the basic story of Juliet for those who may not be very familiar with it, doing so without spoon-feeding, respecting their audiences.
A highly amusing and well-grounded show that will very worthily fill your 20 minutes – but get in there quickly: the run finishes on the 11th!
Reviewer: Danielle Farrow
Reviewed: 10th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: