Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932
Registered Charity No. 294848
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
Cast & Crew
Chorus Kevin Pinks
Escalus Martin Williams
Paris Ben Richardson
Montague Owen Warr
Capulet Barry Dougall
Romeo Ste Applegate
Mercutio Scott Bradley
Benvolio Edward Toone
Tybalt Jeremy Smith
Fr. Lawrence John Myhill
Fr. John Kevin Pinks
Balthazar Michael Ryan
Sampson Jonathan Whalley
Gregory Craig Macpherson
Peter Craig Macpherson
Abraham Jimmy Applegate
Apothecary Tony Janney
Lady Montague Bernadette Wood
Lady Capulet Jan Stoppani
Juliet Lisa Neophitou
Nurse Rachel Bedford
Watchman Robert Vaughan
Citizens/Dancers Lynette Ashton, Emily Bale, Max Lawrence, Adam Monk, Gerri Payne, Robyn Whalley
Musicians Scott Blundell, Rod Clarke
Director Rob Kendall
Costume Design Steve Lack
Additional Costumes Pam Mann, The Works
Stage Manager Claire Brittain
Assistant Stage Managers Emily Bale, Bernadette Wood
Continuity Elizabeth Allan
Lighting Richard Walker, The Works
Lighting Technician Robert Vaughan
Stage Carpenter Mark Mortimer
Publicity & Photography Ian Clarke
Programme Design Martin Borley-Cox
Front of House Masque Theatre members
Lisa Neophitou as Juliet and Ste Applegate as Romeo. Photo by Ian Clarke
Production No. 381
by the director, Rob Kendall
'The two hours traffic of our stage...’
As far as I can see, this summer’s production will be just the fourth time Romeo & Juliet has been performed by Masque Theatre in its various guises. This is a surprise as Romeo & Juliet is such a popular play with the public.
The first was in 1960 directed by Paulina Brandt with Alison Dunmore as Juliet.
We had to wait 34 years for Masque Theatre to stage it again, with Peter Whittle directing on the lawns of St Andrew’s Hospital.
The third time was my production in 2001, again at St Andrew’s.
I am very pleased to say that I have some of the 2001 cast in the 2011 production: Ed Toone, who played Romeo, is now Benvolio, Scott Bradley played Mercutio and is reprising the role and Jan Stoppani is reprising Lady Capulet. Owen Warr has swapped families and is now Lord Montague, and Ben Richardson (a spear carrier in 2001) is now Paris!
We do, though, have some new faces: Lisa Neophitou (ex-Masque Youth Theatre) is Juliet and Ste Applegate (who joined us for Fur Coat & No Knickers) is Romeo. We also have Rachel Bedford as the Nurse and Jeremy Smith as Tybalt.
In total, the cast of 27 have shown themselves adapt at picking up the rhythms of the iambic pentameter as well as exploring the more rumbustious nature of some of the text and action.
Clare Brittain is holding the stage management team together; Richard Walker is lighting designer and we have, by invitation, Steve Lack as costume designer and maker, as well as other makers.
With open-air productions it is difficult to be subtle: the whispered word in the text can too often be whisked away by the wind! We have worked on the delivery, and the subtlety of the relationship between Romeo and Juliet (and yes, I know everyone knows it all ends badly), but I am sure there will be those out there in the audience who can’t help but be moved by what happens to the two ‘star-crossed lovers’.
Just come and see and have a Renaissance evening for yourself, peacocks and weather not withstanding.
Thu 28 July - Sat 6 August 2011 at 7.30pm except Sun 31 July
In the open air in the Courtyard, Abington Park Museum, Northampton
Page last updated: 12/08/2011 Masque Theatre © 2011
This production is part of RSC Open Stages, a project that aims to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre.
‘When you hear the cry of the peacock and you know that summer is nigh’, so goes the song from the musical Valmouth, and this always reminded me of the old days when we presented Shakespeare in the park in this very courtyard. I am so glad to see that we are back here now, although there are no longer any peacocks to battle against!
With a backdrop of the lovely stone walls of the museum it is an ideal setting and what an imaginative idea it was to do away with any other pieces of scenery and just have a raised acting area on the staging, thus giving the actors three levels on which to perform. This, together with some really superb costumes, made a spectacular picture.
As Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best known and loved plays, there is no need to go into any details with regard to the plot. So let’s concentrate on on the players and this production.
Acting in the open will always catch out the unwary and sort out the ‘men from the boys’ so far as projection and technique are concerned. Although the ventral theme is the tragic love of Romeo and Juliet, this is, with two notable exceptions, a male-dominated play and the young men involved were all very well up to their parts. Scott Bradley as Mercutio, was first class, as indeed were Edward Toone (Benvolio) and Jeremy Smith (Tybalt), the subject of Mercutio’s taunting; and, of course Romeo himself. All these young men had good strong voices with clear diction. The sword fighting was of the highest order. I don’t know who arranged the fight sequences but it was quite obvious that a lot of time had been spent on the choreography - and it showed. Well done gentlemen.
Ste Applegate inhabited the part of Romeo as to the manor born. He is young and good looking with an easy manner and has a clear understanding of the words he is saying. Long may his association with Masque continue.
Another performance worthy of mention came from John Myhill as Friar Lawerence. This comic actor managed to give us a kind, gentle and well rounded characterisation.
Now for the ladies. Lisa Neophitou was a joy to behold. What a lovely young Juliet she made. It is always difficult to get it right when casting this part. Shakespeare writes that she is 13 going on 14, so anyone too old can look ridiculous and yet she must have experience to sustain the part. Lisa nearly pulled it off. She pleased my eyes and when being intimate with Romeo, what a delightful picture they made.
Then there is the nurse. This is obviously written as the comic light relief to the tragic happenings and Rachel Bedford tried hard to make the character funny; with a little less gurning she would have succeeded. There will be others who think she was hilarious.
All the other parts (with the exception of the disastrous opening on the night I was there) were well played and Rob Kendall is to be congratulated on this well staged production.