Romeo and Juliet, the third production of the Bard on the Beach 2022 season has taken the stage at Vanier Park.
The Howard Family Stage has been stunningly transformed into fair Verona, where we lay our scene by Set Designer Pam Johnson. Director Anita Rochon begins this performance at the end with Juliet waking from her ‘sleep’, after countless productions, films and adaptations, it’s safe to say beginning at the end should not provide any spoilers. As Juliet, played by the captivating Ghazal Azarbad, opens with the prologue the other players come to life and populate the clashing Capulets and Montagues.
Daniel Fong plays a believable teenager-in-love Romeo, while Sara Vickruck is excellent as his faithful Mercutio with Benvolio, his other kin, played by Angus Yam. Anita Wittenberg adds a stable adult presence to Romeo’s life as Friar Laurence. The always brilliant, Bard-favourite, Jennifer Lines as Lady Capulet, leads her family with strong will and high emotions, as she aims to wed her only daughter to the handsome noble, Prince Paris (Ishan Sandhu). Juliet remains under the guidance of her faithful life-long nurse, played with a hearty dose of comedy by the always scene-stealing Andrew McNee. Try as she might Lady Capulet is unable to contain her hot- headed cousin Tybalt (Victor Dolhal), leading to Shakespeare’s tragic conclusions.
With the sets changing effortlessly between locations, and the costume changes happening on the go, as the cast move between their roles and the chorus, Director Rochon, along with Johnson’s sets and Carman Alatorre’s costumes, create a lush production that feels fresh and new. The audience on opening night were all transfixed throughout the 2.5 hour production, many displaying a visible sense of amusement and wonder by the performances as the tragedy unfolded. Whether you’ve seen a version of Romeo and Juliet once or dozens of times, this production at Bard on the Beach will surely be at the top of your list of favourites.
Romeo and Juliet is onstage at Bard on the Beach until September 24th, on the Howard Family Stage in the Douglas Campbell Theatre. Tickets are available online at bardonthebeach.org/tickets