Review of W!ld Rice’s “Romeo and Juliet” by Ceadsearc

In this review, I invite special guest writer Ceadsearc to provide his thoughts on W!ld RIce’s Romeo and Juliet. He gives such a glowing review of it that I have to kick myself for missing this remake. 

Title of Production: Romeo and Juliet

Theatre Company: W!ld Rice

Date of performance: 28 April 2012

Performance Venue: Drama Centre Theatre

When I heard that Ivan Heng’s W!ld Rice was going to make a remake of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”, I didn’t know what to expect – would it be so Singaporeanified with the “lah’s” and the “loh’s”, or would it lose the charm of a Shakespeare play? Or would it just be a boring, faithful remake of the original?

Thankfully, it was none of the above.

In fact, their remake of Romeo and Juliet was very artistic, tasteful and extremely entertaining. The artistic direction by Ivan Heng to create something different and yet effective was evident from the first scene – a scene where (Romeo’s friend (and not Mercutio)) reads the first opening lines of the scene, with a black and white Hong Kong-styled mob formation in tow, to the final funeral scene.  We see the two families in Verona, decked out as clan leaders in Singapore replete with their own Ah Ma, and we soak in the scene of Juliet calling out “Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo” looking out on the balcony while the lights were skilfully engineered to depict the night with blue starlight in the background. Each scene was artfully done such that the mood of each scene would be conveyed and that the feelings and emotions that the characters feel can be felt strongly by the audience.

And the leads, Hansel Tan (Romeo) and Julie Wee (Juliet), were exceptional. Both delivered their lines with so much passion and emotion and both were extremely convincing. I was particularly impressed with Julie Wee as she gave an impassioned performance that befits her reputation as one of Singapore’s emerging actresses. Special mention goes to Erwin Shah Ismail (Mercutio) and also to the Nurse (Neo Swee Lin) who pulled off their roles with skillful gusto.

Romeo and Juliet was excellent, a performance that managed to convey the feelings and sentiments of the original classic while imbuing a contemporary vibe to the play. Kudos must go to Ivan Heng’s brilliance as a director.

W!ld Rice’s Romeo and Juliet played at the Drama Centre Theatre in Singapore from 12 – 28 April 2012.

ABOUT CEADSEARC

Ceadsearc is a coffee-guzzling, big-time foodie who has a very discerning palate, but also takes the time to enjoy the other finer things in life, like the occasional theatre production. Do visit his food blog at http://www.thefoodieinme.blogspot.com/, which never fails to give me good recommendations.

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