by Paula Citron.
Romeo and Juliet
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Des McAnuff
Starring Gareth Potter, Nikki M. James, Lucy Peacock, Peter Donaldson, Timothy D. Stickney, Evan Buliung and Gordon S. Miller
Festival Theatre until Nov. 8
Des McAnuff’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a good indicator of where he plans to take the Stratford Festival. The new artistic director is style over substance, and it is worrying.
Classical theatre is about language first and foremost, and McAnuff has allowed his production to be a torrent of words that becomes meaningless over time. It is also about character and the actors seem to be non-directed. Not even veterans like Lucy Peacock or Peter Donaldson escape.
What McAnuff and his creative team have done is concentrate on Broadway style state of the art theatrical values, and they are certainly sumptuous. This production has visual appeal only.
Gareth Potter as Romeo could have fared much better with another director. As for poor Nikki M. James as Juliet, she has an understanding of her character, but her voice barely carries.
McAnuff is clearly a dash and flash man.
Romeo and Juliet continues at Stratford’s Festival Theatre until Nov. 8.