Shakespearean tale told in Hemel Hempstead

Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
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If you like to take a sideways look at traditional theatre and enjoy different takes on classic tales then look no further than a production of Romeo and Juliet set to light up The Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead next week.

Forward thinking Merely Theatre company will present two performances of the classic Shakespearean tragedy as part of their current UK tour.

Presented in Merely’s signature stripped-back style, the plays overflow with energy and urgency, seeking to blow the cobwebs off the Bard. Merely’s productions are considered to be raucous, joyous, stirring and visceral.

In Romeo and Juliet, young love is depicted in all its raw and savage beauty. The show drives through action packed thrills, tender intimacy to crushing loss. Romeo and Juliet are lovers from feuding families, wed in secret, but their plans are torn apart by bitter violence.

Merely’s commitment to gender-blind practice means actors rehearse their five-hand productions in male-female pairs, generating twice the amount of ideas for each role, while halving the rehearsal time for each individual.

A man and a woman play each set of parts alternatively across the venues on the tour; a male Juliet, a female Paris - any combination is possible.

Much has been made of the death of repertory theatre. Doing multiple shows at once, working with the same actors, learning a huge breadth of parts, immersion in the classics, and stretching an actor’s range are just some of the skills of which theatre luminaries have mourned the loss.

For some that loss was too much to take, so Merely Theatre started as a way for a company of actors to work together discovering the best way to put on Shakespeare’s plays. Their belief is that rep is not dead, it has evolved.

Romeo and Juliet will be on at The Old Town Hall at 2pm and 8pm on Wednesday, May 10.

Matinee tickets cost £8, Upstaged and school bookings £5. Evening tickets cost £14, concessions £12, Dacorum Card £10, Upstaged and school bookings £5.

Book online at www.oldtownhall.co.uk or call the box office on 01442 228091.