The Stratford Festival Review: “ROMEO AND JULIET” (2018) ★★★★


We all chase love – in life and death. Yet, it is the stubbornness and childish impatience that can defeat almost every one of us. The story of “Romeo and Juliette” by William Shakespeare has been told on so many levels and in so many ways that it is probably impossible to come up with an exact number. And no matter how well we know the entire story, it somehow always finds a way to hypnotize the reader or the spectator as if it is the first time we witness it. As part of Stratford Festival, this beloved timeless play was staged and was revived as a Stage to Series installment. Trust me, the attentive, all-seeing eye of the camera is able to capture details that the eye of a spectator might miss for this or that reason.

Writing a synopsis for “Romeo and Juliette” means that I am putting my own assumption into doubt. I do believe there is no such person who has not hear the story of this tragic love story by Shakespeare, where only death has been able to bring peace and reconciliation to the two hostile families that have failed to recognize it when they still had a chance. Just to briefly remind you the story, Mercutio is Romeo’s best friend who dislikes the Capulet family. He is a funny young man who drinks very cheerfully and in most cases loses his temper for no reason.

Tybalt is a short-tempered guy – the cousin of the Capulet’s and Romeo’s rival. During one of the ordinary days in Verona, Mercutio, drunk enough to have hard times standing on his feet, is unable to ignore Tybalt’s disrespectful attitude toward Romeo. In his desire to teach Tybalt a lesson, Mercutio throws himself into a brawl, which ends with an unfortunate result. Mercutio ends up being killed.

In agony, Romeo rushes after Tybalt to avenge Mercutio’s death. Anger blinds him and he carelessly claims Tybalt’s young life. The Prince, not knowing how else to handle the tragedy, sentences Romeo to lifetime banishment from Verona, which makes impossible for Juliette and Romeo to announce their marriage and live happily ever after.

What happens afterward is a known fact. However, through impressive play directed by Barry Avrich, the viewer – at the theatre as well as in local cinema or at home in front of their TV, will relive the experience of a true, innocent and unforgiving love all over again. What we see on the stage as part of the Stratford Festival is a completely controlled beautiful life which reminds us why Rome and Juliet never needed to meet  Dracula or another vampire to ensure for them the great gift of immortality.



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