Love tragedy told in the forest

Romeo and JulietRed Rose ChainRendlesham Forest ROMEO and Juliet was never an ordinary love story.Violent, tense, dramatic and ultimately tragic, Ipswich-based Red Rose Chain do justice to this most iconic of works with this year's Theatre In The Forest production.

Romeo and Juliet

Red Rose Chain

Rendlesham Forest

ROMEO and Juliet was never an ordinary love story.


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Violent, tense, dramatic and ultimately tragic, Ipswich-based Red Rose Chain do justice to this most iconic of works with this year's Theatre In The Forest production.

A story of forbidden passion and gang warfare this production brings the story up to date by setting the travellers against the landowners - and though it may not be true to the original it's an idea that works.

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With much comedy in the first half this is a lively and upbeat show. The set's excellent, there's plenty of music and movement and, crucially, the story is told loud and clear.

Jimmy Grimes is passionate and competent throughout and there is no doubt his Romeo is bowled over by his Juliet.

Natasha Pring, despite an unfortunate tendency to screech as her passion intensifies, skilfully portrays a youthful and feisty Juliet - the famous balcony scene a highlight.

The multi-roles work and there's some fine acting - notably from Nick Agnew as Mercutio and Paris, Holly Ashton's entertaining Lady Capulet and from Josh Golding as a moody Tybalt and priest-like priest. Gillian Ragearth's earthy nurse is also well executed.

As the sun goes down for the second half the play takes a darker twist, lightened only by a somewhat incongruous but fairly amusing rendition of 1960s classic Return To Sender.

The fight scenes are excellent; the energy of the cast impressive and unstinting. The result is an entertaining performance.

This is accessible Shakespeare and this powerful story is well told.

JAMES MARSTON

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