Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Romeo and Juliet Theatre Review

Ayana Workman & Andrew Veenstra (r) star in STC's Romeo & Juliet (Photo: Scott Suchman)

Holy St. Francis!

I rarely instigate a standing ovation (yet alone participate in one) but last night's performance of Romeo & Juliet at the Lansburgh Theatre was so terrific, I had no choice. Like most folks, I've seen the play (many times) before... but the Shakespeare Theatre Company's production infuses just the right amount of energy and modern accoutrements (i.e. balloons, Live DJ, Starbucks) to light a match to what was already the hottest romance of all-time. Alan Paul's STC directorial debut is equal parts daring, funny and high-octane, without sacrificing the all-important lovey-dovey that audiences demand/expect. If "To move is to stir," consider me stirred.

202 Words or Less

Why so good? Look no further than Andrew Veenstra and Ayana Workman, who ooze charm and sensuality as Romeo & Juliet. Veenstra brings passion/strength, balanced nicely by Workman's playful steadfastness. Their characters may be young and (supposedly) naive; but the players who play them, resemble seasoned actors twice their age. Also impressive, Jeffrey Carlson as the explosive Mercutio. Dynamite even. And Dane Laffrey's lush two-floor set, bathed in crimson, and made all-the-better, courtesy of well-utilized lighting (Jen Schriever.) The shorter, second half skews heavy, but there isn't a dull moment to be had throughout. Cue standing O.

Grade: A

Romeo & Juliet runs almost 2½ hours with a 15-minute intermission, now through November 6 at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th Street, NW.) Tickets cost $44-$118, and are available for purchase at shakespearetheatre.org or by calling (202) 547-1122.