A re-interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was presented at the Brisbane Powerhouse over the weekend with Full Circle Theatre’s play, A Tender Thing.
This very polished production grabs you from the word go. The stage is live when you enter the auditorium, which gives you time to drink in the set and settle the images into your mind. Designed by Freddy Komp, the set evokes images of an idyllic seaside location, a sun-filled bedroom with weathered deck opening out onto a well kept garden, and a pier reaching out into the softly rolling waves of the sea.
Michael Croome is immediately personable and indulgent as Romeo, espousing the depths of his love for Juliet in true Shakespearean fashion. Flloyd Kennedy brings softness, playfulness and mirth to the character of Juliet. Timely use of projected images and mood lighting by Daniel Anderson gave the show an extra edge. As did Scott Norris’s sound effects and clever use of audio to denote the passing of time.
As director Linda Davey says, this play is not so much an adaptation of the timeless Romeo and Juliet story, but a ‘remix’ with a slant all of its own. From the opening phrases, uttered eloquently by Croome and Kennedy, whose delivery was heart-wrenching, until the final exchanges of dialogue, this audience member was enthralled.
Written by Ben Power, A Tender Thing was commissioned in 2009 by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and is based on text from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet interwoven with new dialogue to thread together this story of enduring love and tragedy.
Whilst one doesn‘t have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to enjoy this piece, a little knowledge of the flowery language doesn’t go astray. My only tiny disappointment with this show was that the actors were a little difficult to hear at times when they lowered their voices during a couple of the more tender moments; but it really didn’t take anything away from the performance or the sensitivity with which it was directed.
A very polished performance, with an evocative script that had more than a few people in the audience sniffling. Well done Full Circle; highly recommended.