Emily Pye is a Young Reviewer for Oddsocks. She came to see Romeo and Juliet at Markeaton Park Carft Village on 14 June, here are her thoughts:
Oddsocks has been around for 28 years - they started in 1989 and have been making hilarious productions ever since (my parents have enjoyed watching them on and off for the last 25 years). Here comes yet another riotously funny Shakespeare play (you could almost call it a pantomime)!
I went to Markeaton Park on June 14th ,2017 with my family, my friend and her mother to see Romeo and Juliet (the tragic tale of two young lovers with warring families who end in... well, that would be telling...) We all thought it was great but our favourite bit was when a drunken Mercutio pours water on Romeo’s head!
The play was presented in a unique way: it had been modernised, included lots of laughs and audience participation (Capulet: ‘rock’! and Montague: ‘mod’!) I don’t think this is how people would traditionally think of Shakespeare: modern audiences might expect the characters to be all romantic and pronounce an extra ‘e’ on the end of every word as it is set in the Elizabethan era. The actors do speak in Shakespearian dialect but it is a very visual performance and therefore quite easy to follow if you know the basic plot.
My favourite element of the play was the costumes: they were well thought out, easy to distinguish who the characters were (the Capulets wore leather jackets and the Montagues wore suits), they fit the characters personalities brilliantly and I thought they looked stunning. Also, the set was quite striking. I really liked the colours; they were an interesting contrast to the costumes. The set consisted of two shop fronts- Romeo’s father’s cafe and the Capulet nightclub. There were mod symbols everywhere and also a fireman’s pole which the actors looked like they thoroughly liked to climb up and down - accompanied by awed gasps from the audience. Also, they managed to incorporate a real motorbike- this random humour is quite surprising when you’re sat in the audience but it got a load of laughs anyway!
As the production was outside, I think it made it more realistic, you could feel anticipation in the air and being out in the open just gives it the edge. (It also makes it funnier as the cast could mock people escaping to the bathroom before the interval!)
My favourite actor (the one that stood out to me) was probably Will Barrow (Juliet’s dad), because he was so energetic, boisterous and he jumped around a lot! He has amazing stage presence and he is really funny. I also liked Isla White (Juliet’s nurse) - she was comical and made a few rude jokes!!
I liked the songs, and, because they are usually parodies, they go well with the play’s humorous air and are thoroughly enjoyable. Personally, I think the actors are great musicians. All in all, I think the songs go surprisingly well in a Shakespeare play. The only improvement I would suggest would be to monitor the sound from the microphones more carefully– one produced a loud but indistinct sound making it hard to pick out all the words. Overall, a brilliant production sprinkled with slapstick comedy, witty lines, laughs and energy!!