Romeo and Juliet set to be performed in Norwich Cathedral’s cloister

Romeo & Juliet performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Photo: Farrows Creative. Romeo & Juliet performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Photo: Farrows Creative.

Monday, June 23, 2014
7:59 PM

One of the world’s best known love stories is soon to be played out in Norwich Cathedral’s cloister, as the tragedy Romeo and Juliet takes to the Shakespeare Festival stage in July.

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Romeo & Juliet performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Photo: Farrows Creative.Romeo & Juliet performed by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Photo: Farrows Creative.

In this 450th anniversary year of William Shakespeare’s birth, his play about a pair of star-crossed lovers and their feuding Montague and Capulet families is being brought to the historic city venue by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.

The company takes the name of Shakespeare’s original troupe of travelling players and aims to give audiences a taste of how theatre would have been performed during the Bard’s lifetime.

“It’s an exciting production in the tradition of how Shakespeare would have done it. It’s of the time of the 16th century but also with a new take on it,” said Jonathan Bullock who plays the role of Juliet.

“The Lord Chamberlain’s Men is a recreation of Shakespeare’s original company. It has an all-male cast, 16th century costumes, 16th century music and dance as well.

“When the audience arrive they can expect to be greeted by some strolling players. We then have a few songs to welcome the audience before the show starts.”

He said the open air show was suitable for fans of the Bard, those watching a Shakespearean show for the first time, and also those who may not have enjoyed the plays previously.

“Obviously the play is very well known, perhaps the most famous of all, particularly the balcony scene,” he said.

“It is really accessible for young people and also people who have perhaps not enjoyed Shakespeare in the past. If you want to give Shakespeare another go, this is the play. It’s got a love story, plenty of sword fighting action, and famous scenes you will recognise. There are also bits of comedy with the Nurse and Mercutio.”

Jonathan, a recent acting graduate from LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art), landed the role of Juliet after successfully passing six auditions.

He described playing the part as “so exciting, an actor’s dream,” and said he has been working with movement and vocal specialists in preparation for playing the female lead.

“Most people are intrigued about men playing the women,” he said.

“It’s not about being a dame in pantomime. It’s really about playing the truth of the roles.

“After the first five minutes the audience usually forgets there’s men playing the female roles.”

He described his interpretation of Juliet as “truthful, honest and fun.”

“Romeo has got to fall in love with Juliet so I hope I am endearing enough for that to happen!” he joked.

The company is taking the production to various venues around the country, and Jonathan said he was looking forward to performing in the surrounds of Norwich Cathedral’s beautiful cloister.

“The ambiance of the cathedral cloister is just absolutely fantastic and will be very atmospheric,” he said.

“Sitting in the open air, it’s a fantastic way of seeing Shakespeare.”

This is the sixth year of Norwich Cathedral’s Shakespeare Festival, which is in association with the Eastern Daily Press.

As well as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men performing Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare’s Globe will present the comedy Much Ado About Nothing, a tale of romance full of comic and dramatic suspense.

• Romeo and Juliet is being performed in Norwich Cathedral’s cloister on July 16 and 19, and Much Ado About Nothing is being performed on July 17 and 18. Performances 7pm. Tickets £19 (£16 concessions). To book call 01603 630000, visit www.cathedral.org.uk/shakespeare or buy at Norwich Theatre Royal or the Cathedral Gift Shop.

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