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06 February 2019

RSC's Romeo & Juliet - Theatre Royal Newcastle

It has been years since I have seen an RSC performance as it has been so long since they toured up proper North. Around ten years in fact, as the last I saw was The Taming of the Shrew when I was still in college. But when this tour was announced I bought two tickets within ten minutes because I was going and no one was going to stop me, even if I didn't know who would be coming with me. Romeo and Juliet is actually one of my least favourite of the Bard's plays, but I wasn't going to pass up seeing RSC.

RSC's Romeo & Juliet - Theatre Royal Newcastle

With my quick clicking, I had managed to get us great seats in the middle of the front row of the Grand Circle. Go me. And who did I take? My best friend and fellow Shakespeare fan, who accompanied me all those years ago for The Taming of the Shrew. Ahead of the evening we were excited, and wondering what we'd experience. I purposely hadn't looked out anything about the performance beforehand as I wanted it to be a surprise.

We arrived about fifteen minutes ahead of the performance and ordered our drinks for the interval - the man who served us was kind enough to reserve us two seats at a table for the interval, which is excellent as I'm not so good at standing.

RSC's Romeo & Juliet - Theatre Royal Newcastle

We had to do the squeeze and shuffle to our seats, which is always a little extra awkward when you're trying not to topple over the balcony. This was our fault for leaving it quite late for getting to our seats.

I think that perhaps the theatre had some techinical issues, as when the performance started it was without any announcement or warning, there were still people making their way to their seats, chatting, taking pictures, and the lights weren't even dimmed. It was the same at the interval, only a little more rushed as even more people were yet to take their seats, and the rush led to an increased amount of phones going off during the second part and distracting from the performance.

The performance was energetic and electric and a little bit eclectic. I loved the contemporary take and the gender flipped Mercutio was amazing. The live band in the party scene was unexpected, the clever stage tricks and lighting on such a bare stage blew me away.

RSC's Romeo & Juliet - Theatre Royal Newcastle

Charlotte Josephine did the most incredible job as Mercutio and their vibrant performance, even in the background, meant that I couldn't take my eyes off them when they were on stage. The character was sexy and daring and refreshing, and I loved how different it felt. This wasn't the masculine norm, it was challenging the perceptions of femininity and role of girls in Shakespeare. 

Romeo and Juliet was a wonderful performance, full of energy and punchy deliveries. It was an absolute delight, and mesmerising to the end.

There are still tickets left at The Theatre Royal and if I wasn't so broke right now I would absolutely be going again myself. It was amazing. A slight shame about the venue issues and I wish there had been better contingencies in place for this.


  1. You had a great view! I'm not a huge fan of Romeo and Juliet (the play or the film or just the storyline in general) but I bet it was a great experience watching it live in the theatre! I also LOVE the idea of a female Mercutio! I'm glad the actress did an amazing job at it.


  2. I have to be honest, Romeo & Juliet isn't my fav play. I always feel like it is incomplete and just a question of bad timing... the end I mean. But seeing the play in a theater would sure be different from reading it!

  3. Such a pity about the lack of announcement at the start but it looks as though you had a fantastic view! I keep wanting to go and see one at the Globe, ideally Much Ado About Nothing. I saw King Lear a little while ago at The Bodleian Library and was not expecting an eyeball to get thrown into the audience!

  4. Wow, cool! I love going to see Shakespeare's plays, especially when they play around with convention. I saw a Mexican Revolution-themed Much Ado at the Globe a few years ago and that was fab; this sounds equally great!


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