Globe theatre

Amazingly sloppy: Romeo & Juliet, at Duke of York’s Theatre, reviewed

Romeo & Juliet is Shakespeare with power cuts. The lighting in Jamie Lloyd’s cheerless production keeps shutting down, perhaps deliberately. The show stars Tom Holland (also known as Spider-Man) whose home in Verona resembles a sound studio that’s just been burgled. There’s nothing in it apart from a few microphones on metal stands. He and his mates, all dressed in hoodies and black jeans, deliver their lines without feeling or energy as if recording the text for an audiobook. Some of them appear to misunderstand the verse. Shakespeare’s most thrilling romance has been turned into a sexless bore When not muttering their lines they stare accusingly into the middle distance,

A shrill, ugly, tasteless muddle: Romeo & Juliet reviewed

What shall we destroy next? Romeo & Juliet seems a promising target and the Globe has set out to vandalise Shakespeare’s great romance with a scruffy, rowdy, poorly acted and often incomprehensible modern-dress production. It starts with two lads having a swordfight using curtain poles. Enter the Prince who fires a gun and halts the action. Then the preaching starts. ‘Rather than trying to understand the nature of the violence, the Prince threatens the community,’ says an actor. These intrusions continue. ‘Patriarchy,’ says someone else, ‘is a system in which men hold power.’ The slogan appears on a screen as well. (Patriarchy means ‘fathers’ holding power rather than ‘men’ but