A drugged Juliet is discovered by her nurse and mother.

Taster of Shakespeare’s Shorts for Anywhere Theatre Festival 2012
Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble (West End Twilight Markets)
Duration: 45 minutes

In fair Verona, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life. In West End, Romeo and Juliet live, love and die in 30 minutes.

Welcome to Queensland Shakespeare’s express 30 minute versions of Shakespeare’s popular plays – Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet. The ticketed festival performances will feature all three, and the taster sessions on May 11 and 12 each feature two.

Instant Romeo + Juliet was a sure-fire winner with the market crowd on Saturday night. Smartphone videos were made in abundance by children and adults alike, and audience participation was enthusiastic.

The young boy seated next to me was thrilled to dance with Juliet at the masque ball and later shouted at a critical moment: “She loves you, Romeo!” When a sad Romeo believes Juliet is dead and drinks the poison, the crowd chants: “Scull! Scull! Scull!” (It’s amazing how long it takes to drink from a small-necked bottle.)

Shakespeare wrote for the people, and Queensland Shakespeare play for the people. The set is simple: a wall formed by two folding screens, separated by a curtain. Boxes in front become a ledge from which to woo Juliet, and the couch on which she sleeps.

Four actors (two women, two men) play nine roles between them. Costume changes are lightning fast. Romeo doubles as Juliet’s mother to much hilarity; Friar Lawrence doubles as Mercutio, Romeo’s friend; Juliet doubles as the apothecary; and the nurse also plays Tybalt and the messenger who fails to deliver.

And just in case, we missed it – the entire play was recapped in a three-minute encore! Take a bow, Queensland Shakespeare!

Performance seen: 12 May 2012
Reviewer: Shirley Way
Photo: Shirley Way
Posted at Anywhere Theatre Festival http://anywherefest.com/blog/2012/05/review-shakespeares-shorts-tasters/