By Any Other Name
Cast your mind back to Shakespearean Verona, to an ancient feud of star crossed love, to a rivalry between Montagues and Capulets. However, reimagine this space to paint an image of Capulet ladies and Montague men. By Any Other Name is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet , faithful to the text with all, but a twist- a swapping of gender roles and sexuality. The Long Walk Theatre Company presents this reimagined tale of heartache and tragedy making it relevant to a contemporary society with social commentary and a socio-political agenda.
This production is an eclectic mix of innovation and experimentation. The stage space was used professionally, the lighting and costuming was apt and keenly thought-out. The tension weaved in the room was highly strung and the actors kept up the intensity with incredible passion over the course of the play. Choreographed fight scenes were amazing and in both dialogue and action, it seemed no path was barred. With some stand-out acting, I’d like to commend Sophia Scarpellino (Juliet), Monique Corkin (Nurse) and Annie Schofield (Mercutio) for their energy and enthusiasm in their acting.
By Any Other Name was alive with melodrama and energy. While the concept of a modern reimagining of an old tragedy is a wonderful concept, I feel the execution in the script could have been neater. Staying true to the complete original text, the performance slipped between full Shakespearean soliloquies, then borderlined monologue with contemporary language and references. This was effective to an extent- contemporary social commentary can’t be found in the original text, however there were smaller continuity points which, if edited, could have helped the audience to take the theatrical leap, so to speak. For example, referring to Paris as a male suitor, played by a female actress is an interesting comment in itself, however to then make reference to female sexuality is just a little confusing to keep up with for a long period. Conceptually, the play is wonderfully innovative and experimental and production-wise, the play was very professional, however small discrepancies in the writing unsatisfied.
Warning, explicit sexual references. By Any Other Name plays at The Sidetrack Theatre in Marrickville from the 22nd of May until the 1st of June. For more information, visit http://www.sidetrack.com.au