Romeo and Juliet at Garrick Theatre tickets
Romeo and Juliet at Garrick Theatre tickets

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Overview

Following the smash hit success of the latest Cinderella movie, director Kenneth Branagh has reunited his leading actors, Lily James and Richard Madden, to play the star crossed lovers in his production of Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre.

The play is set in Verona and tells the tragic tale of two feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets, who cannot help but brawl every time they encounter one another. Romeo, a young Montague, gets more than he bargained for when he and his friends gate crash a Capulet party, meeting the beautiful young Juliet. Despite Juliet’s planned engagement to eligible young Batchelor, Paris, the pair fall in love at first sight and begin a dangerous and devastating affair.

With the help of Juliet’s Nurse, the pair marry in secret in an act of love that surely must be strong enough to break the age old war between the two noble households…

Also joining Madden and James is another of their Cinderella co-stars, Derek Jacobi. Jacobi played the King in the fairy-tale film and will now, somewhat controversially, play Romeo’s best friend, Mercutio in the production. Jacobi will be 77 when he takes on the role, usually played by much younger men. Whilst Mercutio’s age is never referenced in the text, this casting should make for an interesting interpretation of the piece.

Romeo and Juliet is arguably Shakespeare’s most well-known and celebrated text. The story of the young pair of lovers is frequently brought to life on stage and in film.

Romeo and Juliet was the fourth installment in the Kenneth Branagh season and ran from 12th May 2016 - 13th August 2016.

Recommended for

Fans of Branagh’s Cinderella will love seeing its stars play lovers once again. Similarly fans of Game of Thrones may very much enjoy seeing Robb Stark in the flesh! Shakespeare fans should also enjoy the show as one of the writers best loved pieces.

Age Recommendations: May not be suitable for very young children

Dates and times

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (including 15 minute interval)
Opened: 12 May 2016
Press night: 25 May 2016
Booking from: 13 Aug 2016
Booking until: 13 Aug 2016

Location and map

Garrick Theatre
Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0HH

79 Reviews Add review

Doctor Faustus Location: Garrick Theatre Date Seen: Friday 13th May Seen With: 1 Friend Understudies at This Performance: N/A ... More

zh14 1.7m, 60 reviews, 21 helpful votes

Doctor Faustus Location: Garrick Theatre Date Seen: Friday 13th May Seen With: 1 Friend Understudies at This Performance: N/A Summary I studied Romeo & Juliet at school and since then it has easily set itself as my favourite Shakespeare play. I booked to see Kenneth Branagh’s production as soon as they announced it last year before the majority of casting was confirmed. The casting had no bearing on my choice to see it as I will take any opportunity to see my favourite piece of Shakespeare. I must add that this review was carried out on the second day of previews and of course previews are not reviewed in reality. I would like to return when it has officially opened to do another review. Acting I was left highly disappointed with the acting in this piece as the text seemed to drive the actors rather than the words being the boat on waves of emotion (something my past theatre director taught me and I stand by). This was particularly evident of Lily James’ who never seemed to settle into the role of Juliet and did not convince as a naïve fourteen year old. Derek Jacobi’s Mercutio was also a huge disappointment with his words seeming mumbled and the character coming across with no depth. I got into a conversation with another audience member in the interval who agreed with me that whilst he is an incredible acot, he was not right for the part and didn’t produce any of Mercutio’s playful mockery of his friends and pride. Despite this, the majority of the remaining cast did deliver. Meera Syal’s Nurse got the balance right with her tenderness and comedy whilst I was Michael Rouse’s Lord Capulet delivered the most dramatic moment of the performance with his verbal and physical tirade towards Juliet over her refusal to marry Paris. Richard Madden delivered a competent performance as Romeo with boyish charm and playfulness but I think he has room to really grow into this role as he showed great promise. Music & Songs The underlying music worked well as it set an atmosphere without distracting from what the actors were saying. Lily James gave a beautifully innocent delivery of a song during the Capulet’s party which I think worked well in setting up Romeo falling in love with her. What I disagreed with was a song put in for Mercutio which seemed out of place and seemed only put in to try and cover up the fact they went with an older actor playing Mercutio. Choreography Romeo and Juliet has some iconic fight scenes and in this instance they didn’t amount to anything with any dramatic impact. Act 3 Scene 1 where both Mercutio and Tybalt are killed has so much dramatic importance in this play, and yet the fight scenes were limp and extremely anticlimactic. Direction I adored Kenneth Branagh’s production of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ but this could not be any further from the class that it delivered. For me, it was the several mis-cast parts and a lack of emotion that let the piece down. This surprised me given how emotionally driven ‘The Winter’s Tale’ was and questioned whether it was simply a case of early show nerves or just actor’s limitations. Set/Lighting I adored the set used in this piece. It was a fully stoned Italian inspired square with steps and large pillars. The only other pieces of removable set used were Juliet’s balcony, the deathbed and a curtain for Juliet’s bedroom. The lighting was also cleverly, used particularly for the scene where Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio go to the party. Set at night time, the only lighting used was large torches to light the space and who was speaking. Costumes Firstly, Lily Evans was put in a dark brown wig which clearly looked like a wig even from the distance away I was sitting. I think it was in an effort to make her appear younger but it completely didn’t work. Even a change to one honouring her natural complexion and natural hair colour would have been even better. The costumes were a modern take of Verona with the men in polished suits and the ladies of higher status in beautifully structured knee length dresses. The colour palette was predominantly black, white and grey with metallic accents. Stand Out Performances Meera Syal as Nurse – she got most of the few laughs of the night due to her perfect comedy timing and interaction with the other actors. She really conveyed how nurturing the Nurse is over Juliet and her feistiness towards other characters. Michael Rouse as Lord Capulet – Lord Capulet’s outrage towards Juliet is one of my favourite parts and Rouse delivered it with so much passion and aggression. It was the most climatic part of this particular production and really made you feel uncomfortable like I always feel this scene should. Show to Show Comparisons In 2014 I saw a production of Romeo & Juliet by The Changeling Theatre at Rochester Castle. This set the bar for a any future productions of this play for me. The actors lived and breathed their characters, particularly Jessica Rose Boyd who played Juliet. She did what Lily James could not. She was oozing with excitement over her love for Romeo and she completely broke on news of Tybalt’s death. The fight scenes by Changeling were more daring and their use and interpretation of set was beautiful. Would I Recommend? No - I think you can see better regional productions and the star names here didn’t amount to expectations. Overall Verdict (Out of 5 Stars): 3 Stars My full review can also be seen on my theate blog: http://zeatre.blogspot.co.uk/

zh14 1.7m, 60 reviews, 21 helpful votes

I must admit that when I first learned of the indisposition of Richard Madden for my performance, I was rather disappointed, but a... More

oliviamannall 5"5, 3 reviews, 2 helpful votes

I must admit that when I first learned of the indisposition of Richard Madden for my performance, I was rather disappointed, but all of this went away the moment that his incredibly talented understudy Tom Hanson came out onto the stage and blew me away with his heart-breakingly convincing portrayal of the young star-crossed lover. Lily James' portrayal of Juliet was youthful and endearing and I found myself absorbed by the two leads' chemistry. It was also incredibly refreshing to see such a comic tale on what could perhaps be called Shakespeare's most lamentable tragedy! I found myself laughing more than crying throughout this show, as Branagh has really extracted and harnessed the full comedic potential of the script, making for a very entertaining and new take on this timeless tale. I'd absolutely recommend this show; grab yourself a ticket before it ends in mid-August this year. It's not to be missed!

oliviamannall 5"5, 3 reviews, 2 helpful votes

This was my first time seeing a Shakespeare play and I wasn't left disappointed. It was clear that the cast had been well selected... More

dhaliwala 5"3, 104 reviews, 10 helpful votes

This was my first time seeing a Shakespeare play and I wasn't left disappointed. It was clear that the cast had been well selected with the leads being played by the very talented Lily James as Juliet and Freddie Fox as Romeo (covering for Richard Madden). Both played a very convincing portrayal of the young star crossed lovers. Meera Syal was cleverly casted as the nurse and gave the play that extra light-hearted touch. Derek Jacobi's role of Mercutio was also very brilliantly played. The set itself was well designed, especially the balcony! Excellent play, well worth watching.

dhaliwala 5"3, 104 reviews, 10 helpful votes

Overall I was impressed with the show; it had a strong cast (particularly Jacobi and Fox), was staged well and the language was br... More

laurendeem 1 review, 0 helpful votes

Overall I was impressed with the show; it had a strong cast (particularly Jacobi and Fox), was staged well and the language was brilliantly executed. Staging wise it had some great moments, and the setting of the play is one I had never seen in a production of the show so I loved it. Weaknesses lied within Juliet and Tybalt for me- I had no great issue with how lily James played her, despite some of her odd choices of movement and frankly unbelievable delivery of the famous "Romeo, romeo... Where for art thou?". My issue lied more within the character and just how annoying she is. Tybalt is by far my favourite character and the actor playing him just did not come up to scratch, until his fight with Romeo. With tybalt you have to have the perfect balance of anger and passion for his family name and this actor just had the anger, not a sufficient performance. Overall this show was a great take on Shakespeare's most famous love story, with truly great moment (particularly the banquet scene). 7.5/10

laurendeem 1 review, 0 helpful votes

The show was incredible. It was lovely to see a different approach to a Shakespeare classic. And Richard Madden and Lily James por... More

chloelouise 18 reviews, 2 helpful votes

The show was incredible. It was lovely to see a different approach to a Shakespeare classic. And Richard Madden and Lily James portrayed R&J very well. As did Derek Jacobi with Mercutio. I was surprised to see it was a modern take on the play, but that didn't spoil it at all. It was very well performed by the entire cast and everyone in the audience was gripped from start to finish. I couldn't recommend this production enough. Bravo to Kenneth Branagh and the cast for this mesmerising piece of theatre!

chloelouise 18 reviews, 2 helpful votes

The vast were fantastic. No Richard Madden unfortunately but Tom Hanson was a wonderful Romeo. Very comedic. But Lily stole the sh... More

Anonymous User 4473 reviews, 572 helpful votes

The vast were fantastic. No Richard Madden unfortunately but Tom Hanson was a wonderful Romeo. Very comedic. But Lily stole the show. Her dramatic flair is beautiful. I fully believed her to be a young, naive girl in the throes of her first love. The balcony was brilliantly interpreted. She was funny, sang beautifully and brought real drama to the play. Derek Jacobi's mercutio was inspired. So camp and ott. So glad I had a chance to see this great performance.

Anonymous User 4473 reviews, 572 helpful votes

Of all the Kenneth Brannagh Plays in this season, this was my least favourite. I love the story of Romeo and Juliet but this adapt... More

fifilou 5"7, 175 reviews, 3 helpful votes

Of all the Kenneth Brannagh Plays in this season, this was my least favourite. I love the story of Romeo and Juliet but this adaptation really didn't work for me. I hated the fact that they merged modern technology, costumes and places into the traditional script and surroundings. I can see the idea to modernize the play but I think you either need to keep it all traditional or all modern, trying to blend the two in this instance didn't work for me. The performances were OK, nothing special really which I was also disappointed about.

fifilou 5"7, 175 reviews, 3 helpful votes

Initially disappointed that Juliet would be played by the understudy due to Lily James' 'indisposition', but Kathryn Wilder was ex... More

Anonymous User 4473 reviews, 572 helpful votes

Initially disappointed that Juliet would be played by the understudy due to Lily James' 'indisposition', but Kathryn Wilder was excellent in the role, I was genuinely surprised by the extent of the emotion that carried through in her solo scenes when she expresses her agonies at their situation - something I wasn't expecting from someone so young and 'new'. I found myself teary-eyed and stunned to be so. I loved Derek Jacobi in his role as Mercutio, didn't know he was in it, so that was a wonderful surprise. He has great stage presence and I couldn't get enough of him. Meera Syal was also an added bonus and breathed real life into all the scenes she was in - brilliant casting and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Anonymous User 4473 reviews, 572 helpful votes

My first ever Shakespeare play and I really loved it. Fantastic from start to finish.

emgrace 5ft5, 13 reviews, 1 helpful vote

My first ever Shakespeare play and I really loved it. Fantastic from start to finish.

emgrace 5ft5, 13 reviews, 1 helpful vote