Mercutio and Tybalt

Mercutio and Tybalt from Oxford based Leaning House, performed at MADS theatre in Macclesfield, approaches Romeo and Juliet from a new angle.  It’s easy to draw parallels with the classic Shakespeare inspired Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, but whereas that explored the existentialist world, this play is firmly rooted in the physical and emotional relationship between the two title characters – ‘the love and betrayal, jealousy and lies’.  And why not look at Romeo and Juliet from a new perspective?  Why not ask, what if?

The play sets up an interesting dynamic through choice of characters, focusing on Tybalt (a Capulet), Romeo (Montague) and Mercurio (who has allegiance to neither).  In some ways this makes the political conflict stronger, and reinforces the idea that the course of true love never did run smooth (yes, wrong play!).  The premise is that Tybalt and Mercutio are lovers, but Tybalt chooses to marry Rosalind (discarded by Romeo) to please his family.  But he can never be happy; he will always want to return to Mercutio.

The play deftly combines original dialogue with contemporary language.  The cast of four play a variety of characters from the original, which works well to give the play a structure and texture.  But at the same time, the two central characters come to the fore in a way that ensures the core narrative and relationship is very clear.   Above all, the dynamic between Tybalt (headstrong ‘Prince of Cats’) and Mercutio (persuasive, unromantic) is convincing and fascinating to watch.  These are excellent performances.

A fascinating concept, well executed, that feels very contemporary.

Mercutio and Tybalt was performed at MADS theatre on 20/21 October 2017.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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