No Story of Greater Woe: Not so in Brisbane

Romeo And Juliet
Romeo And Juliet

Never was a story of more woe? Well, not so for the latest production of history’s most beloved young lovers.

The infamous tale of Juliet and her Romeo plays once more in Queensland Theatre Company’s latest production of Romeo and Juliet.  The star-crossed Veronese Teens play at Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Playhouse Theatre from the 21st of April till the 13th of May.

Melanie Zanetti, of Matilda Award winning fame, headlines as young Juliet, in a sublime portrayal of a thirteen year old in love and lust. Each line bubbles with enthusiasm and girlish delight, aptly justifying each tragic action in her circumstance – a feat not often achieved. Don’t we all remember those crush filled years in our own youths? Zanetti’s performance surely seals this production in the best books of Shakespeare, as a joy to behold.

Caroline Kennison as the Nurse is a breath of fresh air with her unheard of natural delivery. She never once slips into the rhythm of pentameter and defies the restriction that some actors succumb to when speaking Shakespeare’s words.

The entire ensemble revive the relationships between the characters and share much more than a standard recital of the text. The physicality on display is impressive, highlighted greatly by costuming, though the fight choreography was a little soft in places. Articulation and projection was an issue in the space with clarity often lost, only to be saved by an audience familiar with the story and interesting visuals to keep them focused.

The set design by Bill Haycock is unusual for a Shakespearean production, neither replica of the times nor a contemporary interpretation, it falls somewhere in between. Obviously thought out to the finest details, the almost garish colours change vastly under different lights, it is one of the more contentious elements of this production. The set also features a surprise element that can most likely be credited to Frantic Assembly’s visit to La Boite with Stockholm, two years ago.

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The projection and lighting, by David Walters, are both beautiful and skilfully intertwined but only played a small role overall. While the haunting images punctuated the most pivotal moments they could have been used to greater effect.

The opening show came complete with a surprise real life proposal for two (now happily engaged) audience members.

Queensland Theatre Company

QTC Artistic Director Wesley Enoch spoke with gratitude and commended the audience to pass on the following sentiment;  ‘Go and see this production. Shakespeare is good for the mind and QTC is great for the Industry’.

Romeo and Juliet
Company: Queensland Theatre Company
Review Date: Saturday 21 April 2012
Presented By: Queensland Theatre Company
Directed By: Wesley Enoch
Venue: Playhouse, QPAC, South Bank, Brisbane
Opening Date: 21/04/2012
Closing Date: 13/05/2012
Online: QPAC
Phone: 07 3840 7444

Lou has worked in Theatre in Australia, Ireland and London. She is a Youth Ambassador for Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, an alumni member of the Australian Voices and a director and producer of independent theatre and film. With experience in acting, singing, physical theatre, technical theatre, front of house and stage management she is a devotee to the stage. Lou has studied at UQ, QUT and University College Dublin but is currently completing a bachelor of film and screen media production at Griffith University in Brisbane.

Louise has written 7 articles on AussieTheatre | Read more articles by

  • Marc James

    Hi Bethany Lou, could you elaborate on the surprise in the set? I feel like I missed something and not having seen the Frantic Assembly play I’m not sure what to remember seeing, if I did in fact see it. Kind regards.

    • Louise Hales

      Hi Marc,

      The Frantic Assembly production has a great water element hidden in the set of their production; the surface of a desk that wasn’t revealed until late in the production when the actress’s head was plunged into it! A really spectacular moment.
      The water element in R+J was given away at the first moment but was beautifully used throughout. 

      – Lou

  • Jules Mcgarry

    I really appreciate the talent we have in our acting fraternity in brisbane, particularly in the quality of our younger actors to take on classics like R&J. Tom Larkin, Melanie Zanetti, Ross b and Nick S demonstrate just how fortunate we are to have a theatreenvironment that Mithras such fine talent. The production has some shortfalls but I think it has much to do with the directors approach for better or worded. Go and see this and see some great up and coming talent