Romeo and Juliet

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Adam Nichols

19th - 22nd March 2003
Trestle Arts Base, St Albans








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My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Romeo Montague

OVO's debut production was a contemporary staging of one of the most famous plays ever written. Utilising film and music to augment the live action, Romeo and Juliet offered a twenty first century take on Shakespeare’s tragic tale of love and revenge.

Star Crossed Theatre
27th March 2003

TAKING Shakespeare's prose and putting it in a contemporary setting can be a risky business. It was particularly so for new drama group OVO which put Romeo and Juliet in a modern gangland setting for its first production at the Trestle Theatre Base in St Albans last week.

It could have been a disaster but the fact that it worked as well as it did is a tribute to all concerned and particularly the imagination and far-sightedness of director Adam Nichols.

The device of using two screens showing newshound Miranda Valentine reporting on the animosity between the Montagues and the Capulets proved to be a successful one, helping to link the threads of the story. And the Trestle base, a new venue on me, was used to maximum advantage as the seedy Capulet nightclub where much of the action took place.

The cast comprised new young performers and established actors and it worked well. While the acting honours went to Mike David as a persuasive and professional Mercutio, there was plenty more to praise. Sue Dyson as Juliet's Nurse reinforced the belief of many that the Breakaway Theatre Company stalwart is the finest comic actress in St Albans. Making up a trio of very strong performances, which formed the backbone of the production, was Andy Mills as the belligerent Tybalt.

It was particularly good to see Simon Nicholas – co-founder of OVO – back as the wittily-named Laurence Friar, a youth worker in this context instead of a man of God. He was always a welcome addition to Breakaway productions until he disappeared from the acting scene, returning only recently for Enemy of the People at St Albans Town Hall.

Laura Harding as Juliet and Andrew Margerison as Romeo had plenty of rapport – they needed it as they stripped off to their underwear in an interesting "take" on Shakespeare's original. They both brought talent and enthusiasm to their roles with Andrew in particular, fast establishing himself on the local stage as an up-and-coming young performer.

With a strong supporting cast, this was a classy and convincing production which has introduced another strong drama group to the St Albans theatrical scene.


Award winners

Romeo and Juliet picked up two awards at the 2003 Barnet Drama Festival.

Mike David was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Mercutio. The production also secured the Best Set gong for its recreation of a seedy London nightclub, featuring video screens and graffiti art from two young local artists.

In addition to picking up the two awards, the production was highly commended in several categories. Helen Huson was recognised for her performance as Lady Capulet in the Best Supporting Actress section, and Sue Dyson was praised for her portrayal of the Nurse in the Best Comic Actor category. There were two further nominations: for Laura Harding as Best Young Actor and the production overall for Most Ambitious Choice of Play.


The Montagues
Dave Montague - Richard Garrett
Vicky Montague – Jane Fisher
Benvolio Montague – Richard Smith
Romeo Montague – Andrew Margerison
Mercutio del Notte – Mike David
Rosaline Nickleby – Jackie Tomes

The Capulets
Ronnie Capulet – David Berryman
Fleur Capulet – Helen Huson
Vince Tybalt – Andy Mills
Juliet Capulet – Laura Harding
Denise ‘Nurse’ Carter – Sue Dyson
Eddie Paris – Mark Summers
Sampson McCreedy – Stuart Goaman
Bianca Stephano – Emma Dinoulis
Gregory del Rio – Michael Tomkins

The Others
DC Antonia Prince – Imogen de la Bere
Police officers – Anthony Burton, Dan Chalimos
Miranda Valentine – Emma Dinoulis
Laurence Friar – Simon Nicholas
Priest – Richard Garrett

Creative Team

Director – Adam Nichols
Producer – Maureen Adams
Production Adviser – Simon Nicholas
Technical Director – David Wm Palmer
Stage Manager – Alison Begley
Assistant Stage Manager – Sara Davis
Lighting - Mac
Sound – Stuart Porter
Set Design – Simon Nicholas, Adam Nichols, David Wm Palmer
Set Construction – The Company
Graffiti Artists – Ralph Bird, Tom Humphries
Film Director – Simon Nicholas
Film Production Assistants – Anthony Burton, Sara Davis
Fight Arranger – Mike David
Voice Coach – Mike David
Publicity and Programme Design – Adam Nichols
Box Office – Jane Fisher
Bar Manager – Toby Nichols
Front of House Co-ordinator – Maureen Adams
Front of House Staff - Judy Curd, Court Harding, Ashley Nicholas, Fred Nicholas, Tessa Osborn, Rob Thomas, Jan Tomes

© OVO 2003