In preparation for MV being the March BOTM at Historical Fiction Online, one of their contributors has posted a review of it at another site, HistoricalNovels.info. And once you're done reading that one, poke around the site for a few minutes - which will become hours, even days. They have amassed an astonishing collection of reviews, all of historical fiction, sorted into neat period categories. Enjoy!
EMU Theatre presents the Shakespearean classic in modern dress
“Romeo and Juliet”, perhaps Shakespeare’s most well known play, was put on by the Eastern Michigan University Theater Department Friday night at the Quirk Theater. Famed director David Blixt and the esteemed play created enormous expectations for this performance. These expectations were not only realized, but were far exceeded by those who participated in the performance.
Every cast member played his or her part incredibly well, and some even had to adapt to multiple roles.
Matthew Andersen played Romeo, and used very strong emotion throughout the play as the part demanded. Romeo’s lovesick temperament is a difficult personality to master, but this was done well by Andersen.
Juliet’s role, played by Stephanie VanAlstine, was tremendously funny. Her voice was strong when it needed to be, but changed quickly to a childish scream when her character grew excited. VanAlstine’s elegance and presence on the stage created the most memorable part of the entire performance.
The pair of Andersen and VanAlstine enforced their connection on stage very convincingly. Their suicidal scene at the end was so forceful that some theatre-goers confessed to crying afterwards, despite already knowing what was to happen.
The comical Mercutio is a difficult part to play, but as with the others, it was performed expertly by Joshua Hamilton. Hamilton commanded every scene he was involved in, and his loud but clear voice and wonderful physical comedy enhanced this character. He also mastered the dramatic end of Mercutio’s life.
Tybalt and Lord Capulet, played by Charles Dvorak and Gary Pettit, excelled as the models of masculinity. The Nurse, Luna Alexander, was very funny in her role as the care-giver to Juliet.
The production staff did an excellent job with the perfoarmance. The set was simple and really captured the feel of an Italian street, but also was versatile enough to incorporate all of the other scenes.
The costumes for the women and most of the men were exceptional. Some of the men, however, looked as though they were in “That 70s Show”, not “Romeo and Juliet”. Thankfully, this was not distracting enough to cause much displeasure.
Even the lighting, an aspect usually not considered, was excellent at highlighting certain characters and hiding others from the audience.
Director David Blixt’s effort to change peoples’ opinions of this play was a major success.
“‘Romeo and Juliet’ is not a Tragedy,” Blixt wrote in a note in the program, “It is something far worse – a Comedy gone wrong.”
This view is completely contradictory to what many teachers tell their students. Most know this to be a terrible tragedy, but Blixt shows the audience that it begins as a very funny comedy and is torn apart through a series of accidents and mishaps.
The cast made the comedy extremely apparent in the first half of the performance, using sexual gestures to reveal that the words of Shakespeare are very humorous. Although the second half possessed some funny moments, it mainly grew more serious and somber.
This play is enjoyable for the fan of Shakespeare, of drama or even for someone looking for a funny performance. If you doubt the extent of the comedy or the excellence of the show, see this play. It is worth the price of $12-$15 for a ticket and surely by the end, your mind will be changed.