Romeo and Juliet at the Globe review: This production's a defiant two-fingers up to the traditionalists

Simon Thomson
Edward Hogg and Kirsty Bushell as the star crossed lovers
Romeo and Juliet

Director Daniel Kramer’s boisterous Romeo and Juliet is destined to divide opinion. Part circus, part underground rave, the text struggles for air amid strobe effects and EDM.

It could be quite alienating, but an attention to comedy offers reticent audience members a route into a show that is, by turns, frustratingly silly and riotously funny.

It is public knowledge that the real drama at the Globe is going on behind the scenes. Having been brought in to shake things up, artistic director Emma Rice has been invited to pursue other opportunities by a board which decided in retrospect that it did not appreciate her brash, “urban” aesthetic.

And given that background, Romeo and Juliet – the first show of Rice’s second and final season – can only be viewed as a defiant two-fingers up to the traditionalists.

Edward Hogg’s Romeo has all the depth and appeal of Toby Maguire’s emo-Peter Parker from Spider-Man 3, but Kirsty Bushell’s Juliet is a shrieking spasm of nervous energy, wringing almost enough character, nuance, and humour from the script to fill the void. Considering the play’s emotional incontinence, the decision to present the characters as goths was hardly a subtle one.

But then, this is a production that features a man in an inflatable Godzilla costume dancing to YMCA, so perhaps subtlety is not its key concern.