This spring semester, the Rude Mechanicals of Shepherd University put together their own performance of Romeo and Juliet. This is an honest review of the show I saw on April 2, this past Saturday.
I would like to begin with the acting. Overall, the acting was good. You can tell that they worked hard to make this show as perfect as possible. I especially want to shout out Catherine Ellzey, who played the nurse, and Adam Wilson, who played Mercutio.
Catherine did a fine job projecting, showing emotion, and being one of the most hilarious parts of the show. Adam played Mercutio exactly how I’d expect the character to act and did a wonderful job portraying the Mercutio’s death scene. There was one character, who came in with the Nurse in one scene and in the graveyard at another, who I think needed to show a little more character.
There wasn’t a lot of emotion in the lines he had to say, but he read them so plainly that it stood out against all the other dramatic characters. I could also tell when the actors were nervous, but I don’t think a general audience member would notice. The actor playing Balthazar also had one moment in the show where they forgot their line, but again, I don’t think a general audience member would notice. With just a little more finesse, I think all of the actors in this show could make it really stand out from other “Romeo and Juliet” portrayals.
Next, we have staging. The propping was very minimalist, which is OK. You could tell when they moved from one location to another. There was one moment when Mercutio ran into a prop, and it fell over. The crash distracted from the scene a little, so I would either move the prop or have Mercutio practice that run again so as to not disturb the prop nor potentially get hurt.
Also, for the scene with Juliet on the balcony, it was hard to gauge when Juliet and Romeo were not talking to each other and when Romeo finally revealed herself to Juliet. I would suggest adding a prop — perhaps a bush or a tree — to separate them more clearly. Otherwise, the actors did a great job of making their marks.
Furthermore, I’d like to mention the makeup and costuming, as well as the technical stuff. The makeup was good, and every face popped in the lighting rather than washed out. The costuming was also good. It was easy to remember who was who because of it. The Capulets all wore red, Romeo and Juliet wore black, Mercutio wore pink, the servants wore white (save for the Nurse), and the friars wore brown cloaks. As for tech, the lighting was good, and the sounds were at the right volumes to go along with the scenes without drowning out the actors’ voices.
As a whole, I really enjoyed the show. The acting was fun to watch, the dramatic scenes were well executed, and you could tell that the actors really enjoyed what they were doing. It’s always nice, as a theatre kid myself, to see people put care and effort into every little detail of a show, even a small one.
If you want to see this performance, they are still having showings. April 7, 8, and 9 they will be performing at 7:30pm, and on April 10 they will be performing at 3:00pm. The performances are on Shepherd campus at Reynolds Hall on East Campus. Shepherd students get in for free with a valid student ID, all other students get in for $3, and general admission is $10. If you get the chance, I recommend stopping in and seeing it, for the love of theatre and for the love of the theatre kids who put their hard work into it.