’Will leave audiences with a smile on their face’: Sharon ‘n’ Barry do ‘Romeo & Juliet’ – Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (Online review) ★★★★

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This gentle comedy has plenty to put a smile on people’s faces during this difficult time.

It would be fair to say that people have certainly tried all sorts of things during lockdown – but I wonder how many have attempted to put on a full-scale production of a Shakespeare play in their own living room?

This is exactly what Sharon and Barry decide to do in this gentle comedy in which seeing that they can’t take their nephew Alex (who is studying the play at school) to see a production of Romeo & Juliet they simply have to recreate it with the help of costumes and props found around the home.

Directed by Douglas Rintoul and taking place on zoom, the production does have a feel of a home video quality about it – yet instead of being a hinderance it actually enhances the charm and the heartwarming nature of the play.

While it is a whirlwind interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, it is still a very coherent adaption with some nice moments in which Sharon and Barry break character as they scramble to swap characters. The script is filled with plenty of lovely lines that really make the audience smile including when Barry proclaims “why Shakespeare gives away the ending before it begins is beyond me” – an excellent point that I had never considered before.

The script is nicely grounded and you instantly warm to Sharon and Barry as they bring this tragic love story to life – with the help of some interesting zoom backgrounds and of course a number of different props and costumes formed of items found around the home. There is plenty of creativity and imagination on display – particularly during the famous balcony scene and ball scene (I very much enjoyed the fact the song in the background ‘Got My Mind Set on You’ before changing to ‘Careless Whisper’). It is the little attention to details that give the show something extra.

In many ways it feels as though it is a celebration of the many things that could (and of course do) go wrong. Whether it is a sudden show stop, costumes that aren’t put on properly or having to play two characters at once – these are a fond reminder of the joys of live entertainment.

Throughout it all, the performances of David Nellist and  Joanne Seymour have a wonderful warmth and energy about them. Instantly likeable, their performances are wonderfully grounded and the way in which they banter with each other feels natural – in fact I can’t help but wonder how Sharon and Barry would adapt Macbeth!

It is a simple but joyous production that will leave audiences with a smile on their face.

By Emma Clarendon

Sharon ‘n’ Barry do ‘Romeo & Juliet’ will be performed on Zoom until the 6th March 2021. Tickets cost £8 plus 65p QRenew Fee, suitable for all ages 7+. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/sharon-n-barry-do-romeo-and-juliet/

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Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.
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Emma Clarendon on FacebookEmma Clarendon on InstagramEmma Clarendon on RssEmma Clarendon on Twitter
Emma Clarendon
Emma Clarendon studied drama through A-Level before deciding she was much better suited to writing about theatre than appearing onstage. She’s written for a number of online publications ever since, including The News Hub and Art Info. Emma set up her own blog, Love London Love Culture, in April 2015 and tweets at LoveLDNLoveCul.

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