Having never read or seen a play of ‘the greatest love story ever told’, I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as this production was an all men one!
The Lord Chamberlain’s Men formed in 2004 and named themselves after Shakespeare’s original troupe or travelling players. Their humour, wit and professionalism towards the arts was shown throughout the play and it was obvious that their hearts were in it.
We arrived to Cardiff castle in what we thought was plenty of time, only to find the only places left were on the floor right in front of the stage, which turned out to be an excellent view.
Cardiff castle was a perfect setting for this tragic love story, blocking out the loud city noise, the infamous lines were echoing from wall to wall, really encompassing us in the story itself.
The actors announced that given the grim weather conditions, if the rain persisted they may have t take a break, but promised us the show would go on having never cancelled a play before.
With less than five minutes to go, ‘Juliet’ broke character and stated that a break would be taken, to much relief of the actors and us the audience. Yes, we had umbrellas and hoods, but there’s only so much rain a person can take and we were soaked to the skin by the end.
Each of the 7 actors played great roles, and began each act by singing in harmony with each other. This worked really well and was a great way to take us back in time with them to really believe we were part of the drama.
At first I didn’t know how I would react to men playing women in such a tragic love story, but it was not an issue. Juliet was gentle and kind and the nurse was as caring and over the top as I thought she would be.
Mercutio and Romeo were amongst my favourite characters. How they kept their energy and enthusiasm through all the rain and delivered each line as though it was the first time was astonishing!
The fight scenes were great, but each time they plunged to attack their opponent, I was terrified they would slip on the water and off the stage!
It might be too late for you to see this production in Cardiff, but I know they tour all over the UK and would definitely recommend them!
If you think you’d enjoy their performances, check them out at: http://www.tlcm.co.uk/index.html