Review: Elizabeth Olsen shines 'Romeo and Juliet'
NEW YORK (AP) - William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy "Romeo an d Juliet" easily lends itself to modern interpretations, with its ageless story of young lovers forever trapped in their cycle of doom.
Classic Stage Company is presenting an energetic contemporary version, directed by Tea Alagic and starring Elizabeth Olsen and Julian Cihi as the heedless couple that opened off-Broadway Wednesday night.
Alagic spices up the story of two feuding families with Spanish interjections, dynamically choreographed fight scenes, and a flamboyant performance by Daphne Rubin-Vega, who comically portrays the Nurse as a flouncing Latina spitfire in huge platform shoes. Minimal set, moody music and stark lighting heighten the tension and sense of foreboding.
Olsen shines brightly as a fresh, mercurial Juliet, by turns spunky and then earnest as she plots to deceive her parents and be with Romeo. Cihi conveys an appealing naivete and lithe, sensuous grace, although his Romeo is occasionally bland. For some reason, there's no balcony in their famous balcony scene, and Romeo runs around the invisible garden several times, but the pair remain convincing in their youthful, impetuous passion.
Other standouts among the talented supporting cast include Daniel Davis as Friar Laurence, at first benignly confident and then mournfully regretful when his plot goes tragically awry. T.R. Knight gives an impish, bad-boy energy to Mercutio, and David Garrison is thoroughly bullying as the unpleasant Lord Capulet.
Alagic sometimes lets the action overshadow the dialogue, as when tattooed, bare-chested antagonists prowl menacingly around one another in the testosterone-laden fight scenes. Some actors let their dialogue quickly tumble out, which conveys their characters' recklessness but clouds the poetry of the text. Most jarringly, Romeo wears a huge Winnie the Pooh head at the masked ball when he first meets Juliet.
Although we don't see a traditional "fair Verona" onstage, we still experience the tragic waste of young lives in this spirited remake.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Bob Brenly, D-backs TV commentator - Thursday July 31D-backs TV commentator Bob Brenly says who he thinks are the teams to beat in MLB after the trade de
- Derrick Hall, D-backs President & CEO - Thursday July 31D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall talks about the trade deadline.
- Tim Kurkjian, ESPN MLB insider - Wednesday July 30ESPN MLB insider Tim Kurkjian discusses the MLB trade deadline.
- Kevin Towers- D-backs GM - Wednesday July 30Kevin Towers talks about the trade deadline and the state of the youth in the organization.
- Kirk Gibson- Dbacks manager - Tuesday July 29What else can Major League Baseball do to enforce the blocking the plate rule?
- Keith Law, ESPN MLB Insider - Tuesday July 29ESPN MLB Insider Keith Law gauges the value in the D-backs’ potential trade pieces.
- Derrick Hall - D-backs president and CEO - Thursday July 24Derrick Hall talks about the approaching trade deadline.