I have been a “subscriber” at the Royal Lyceum Theatre for three or four years now. During my first season or two the productions were spectacular. I often found myself gasping and wringing my hands along with the characters and, more than once, was left sobbing into my ice-cream by the interval. That is what theatre is all about – why I enjoy it so.
Sadly, quality – in my opinion – had plummeted during the last two seasons. This was due in no small part to BAD casting.
The only reason I renewed this year was because I couldn’t bear to give up my seat (D22). Many seats in the auditorium are ‘sponsored’ and wear little brass plaques on their backs. D22 may or may not have a plaque of its own, I know not. I love my place because of the plaque placed on the seat in front:
I couldn’t bear to leave Winnie just yet and so I have subscribed for another season. So far, I am hopeful of a return to form.
The first play of the year was Romeo & Juliet. When I got the programme for the season it occurred to me that I have never seen this play before! Shocking? I know. Unbelievable? Perhaps, but true. Obviously I know the story well and I have seen versions of it and excerpts from it but I have never watched this play in its entirety – on stage or screen.
So, I came to the production fresh as a new born babe. No expectations.
The set, as always at the Lyceum, was great. Grey and crumbling and a little foreboding. The costumes too were excellent – Lady Capulet’s gowns in particular were most pleasing.
I found the cast to be, as a whole, excellent (unlike much of the last two seasons I’m sad to say). Liam Brennan (Capulet) is one of my favourites in the company – his performances are compelling but never showy. Cara Kelly (Lady Capulet) and Alexandra Mathie (the nurse) where both wonderful and Kirsty Mackay played Juliet with the ungovernable obsession and passion of a teenager in love for the first time.
My personal favourite was Grant O’Rourke (Mercutio) who’s brief comedy dance routine and heroic swordplay won me over to the extent that I shed a tear or two at his demise – Spolier?
The final scene lacked some of the tragic drama I’d hoped for but otherwise, a top hole production. Well done Lyceum – back on form!