The Royal Shakespeare Company has brought its Courtyard Theatre to Camden. Or so it seems. The old Victorian turning shed cum performance space has been RSC'd. It's like someone has scooped up the Courtyard from Stratford, then sliced the Roundhouse roof off and popped it down snugly inside, carefully putting the roof back so no one would know from the outside.
And so with the Stratford stage you pretty much get the Stratford production of Romeo & Juliet which I really enjoyed back in July (I don't want to repeat too much of what I said back then, so for my full review click here). It had all the things I loved about that performance; the fun, the high energy and sexual tension. And Jonjo O'Neill as Mercutio is still scene stealing.
It seems to have benefitted from having bedded down well in Stratford over the summer with a few of the niggles having been ironed out. Sam Troughton as Romeo has sorted out his delivery, speaking with more clarity in the heated scenes. Mariah Gale too seems to be making a little more of Juliet's death scene but it could still do with a bit more milking for my liking.
It is an accomplished, youthful and highly-charged production of Romeo & Juliet but having seen in Hamlet at the National Theatre how well the light and dark of a Shakespeare play can be reflected in a variety of pace, I couldn't help wishing that some bits had been reined in, just a tad.
Star rating-wise it is just nudging four but that doesn't take into account the restricted view, despite having paid top whack for tickets which would probably bring it down to a three.
If you are about to book to see it at the Roundhouse beware of seats at the very end of the rows on either side of the stage (Our seats were C1 & C2). It feels like you are looking at the back of the action a lot of the time. And when the actors are on the main balcony, unless they are at the front you can't really see what is going on. Neither can you see the actor who speaks from the balcony to the left in the crypt scene (or the balcony to the right, depending on which side of the stage you sit).
I've written to the RSC highlighting that if you are paying the same price as someone sitting head on to the stage or at least further up the thrust, then they should warn you that won't be able to see everything that is going on in certain seats. Haven't heard anything back as yet.