The RSC, Young Vic and Theatre for a New Audience have a difficult but fascinating task ahead in re-creating lost work Swingin’ the Dream that honours the original while offering something new to modern audiences.
Romeo & Juliet, with Karen Fishwick and Bally Gill as the leads, arrives at the Barbican as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s London residency. Although written over four centuries ago, this production feels chillingly relevant.
It’s sometimes a little difficult to take seriously how old everyone is meant to be in Romeo & Juliet but Erica Whyman’s modern-day production for the RSC, playing in rep now at the Barbican, never lets you forget.
I’m not saying I want Barney Norris to write an all-out farce but it would be fun to see him stretch his considerable literary talent beyond these tales of gentle melancholy that he does so well. While We’re Here doesn’t technically suffer for being in immediately recognisable territory but equally, it doesn’t possess the aching soul that made Visitors a spectacular success.
As you’d expect from the playwright who wrote Visitors (2014) and Eventide (2015), this new one is an ideal studio piece, in which it is important to hear every word and intonation, and see even the smallest gesture.
Walking back from the Bush the other evening, I glanced back at the Green and remembered the years when the one-room Bush hovered above a far from welcoming pub, up some uncomfortable and cranky stairs. For years and years.