Picture, if you were William Shakespeare’s :”Romeo & Juliet” get's mixed with Rupert Holms and Charles Dickens musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” and you might have a slight idea how Shattered Globe Theatre 2.0 is putting on a truly remarkable, fully engaging, and never dull production of “Down & Dirty Romeo & Juliet.” The show takes place at a different venue each night with last night being at the upstairs bar area of Justin's on 3358 Southport. As the show starts the director Roger Smart welcomes the audience and gives the rules. In a moment we will be able to decide which members of the ensemble will take on what roles. Any prop located in the space would and could be used by the cast, on the night I attended props ranged anywhere from sunglasses, audience members, glasses of wine, and stuffed animals.
Shattered Globe is able to even go one step further and as ask you as you enter into the theatre which side of the family you would like to be a part of and then give you a name tag of either Capulet or Montague. I was a Montague and also was given a Shakespearian Insult lists that I could string insults out loud during the fight scenes. My favorite Grow unsightly warts thou gorbellied unchin-snouted maggot pie. A line I plan n using on a few ex's.
Our cast was chosen for the night and we were lucky to get the Dan Wilson's youthful and confused Romeo and Hilary Williams Juliet who smartly played Juliet as a typically confused and awkward Juliet. They were strongly supported by Drew Schad stern Nurse, Christina Gorman's Lady Macbeth version of Lady Capulet, Kendra Kargemian angry Tybalt, Angie Shriner's fiesty Benvolio, Joseph Wiens enraged Lord Capulet, and Levi Hollowy's contemporary Friar Lawrence. I only felt that Kate LcConti's pushed the manly aspects about Mercutio a little hard but that also seems the character more then the actress.
Though out the lighting speed of the action and smartly played in the aisles and mainly in center of the bar it lets you feel like you are a part of the action.
At first I thought this concept that was originally based on The Factory Hamlet, which was an idea devised and developed by the Factory Theatre in London by Tim Carroll would lead to uneasy performances as it's hard to grow into a character that you may never have performed before. However it's a credit to the cast and Roger Smarts direction that these performances not only felt fresh but felt like the actors were emotionally invested in the material. They were quite fearless in there performances and you could feel the excitement they had in performing in this style.
I must confess I came into this production a little hesitant as Romeo and Juliet is not my favorite piece from Shakespeare. It's a beautifully constructed piece but for some reason the impatience of youth and the sacrifices of what these children do in the name of love have never appealed to me. However, the concept that Shattered Globe used coupled with the strength of Roger Smarts direction and a cast that felt like they were on fire I left this production as a fan.
This production will next play July 17th, 24, and 31st at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph with the times and tickets to be determined.