Theatre review: Shakespeare in the Park's Romeo and Juliet
1. Juliet is a true-blue 13-year-old.
While the actress Cheryl Tan is years ahead of Ms. Capulet's tender age of 13, she plays her with a flirty, wanton appeal. From the moment she burst onto stage in a kick scooter, you'll know that you're in for a different side of Juliet — one that's not as tame, though still as naive and, quite frankly, in this modern age, idiotic.
2. It's a throwback like no other.
Remember the times when you were young, wild and free, but also young, dumb and living off mum? Romeo and Juliet entwine themselves in their idea of love, wrought in both excitement and fear. Just like our first loves. Minutes into the play and you'll recognise parts of yourself you've buried a long time ago (here's hoping, at least): Desperate, insecure, and short-sighted. There are other fish in the sea, Juliet. Fish that don't end up killing your own cousin, Tybalt.
3. The supporting cast members shine as well.
The spotlight isn't just on the two romantic leads. Shane Mardjuki is enthralling to watch as Mercutio, Romeo's cousin, in all his bravado. Although you know the story all too well (Baz Lurhmann's 1996 version, anyone?), Mardjuki still keeps you on the edge of your picnic mat. Jo Kukathas as the Nurse straddles both the roles of confidante and caregiver to Juliet, providing both heart and comedy in one person.
4. You'll feel right at home.
Set in a contemporary Asian landscape, the set is a space that's detailed with little nuggets of discovery. There's a crack that runs through the entire structure, split right in the middle to reference the opposing worlds of the Montagues and Capulets. Then there are the Escher-like staircases of metal and glass, giving the characters enough leeway to roam around the set for moments that are both intimate and inclusive. Stained glass windows and titled crucifixes are subtle nods to the Catholic church, while in the backdrop, you'll see downtown Singapore rising above Fort Canning's trees.
5. It's a great way to introduce Shakespeare to new audiences.
Whether you'd like to bring your kids, your foreign friends or your parents, a play's a great way to introduce new texts. Not only is Romeo and Juliet one of Shakespeare's most recognisable and accessible works, SRT's production is also set in the casual comforts of Fort Canning Park. That means no dress codes, no uppity audience members and you'll get to enjoy your own gourmet spoils as well. Win.
Shakespeare in the Park - Romeo and Juliet is running till 22 May. For tickets, click here.