It’s the morning after the opening night of Romeo and Juliet at the Fire Station, and the cast and crew are revelling in what was a truly spectacular – and very professional – performance of Shakespeare’s greatest love story, brought up to date and back to life by thirty-one Liverpudlian cast members.
The remarkable transformation of Croxteth Fire Station into ‘fair Verona’ – market stalls littered with fairy lights and scary costumes (I won’t spoil the surprise for those yet to see it and say why!) – greeted the audience on arrival. After a very slight delay (what opening night goes without its minor technical hitches?) everyone found their seats and the show began in a flurry of activity which introduced them to Romeo (Danyel Roberts), Juliet (Helen Webster), and all of the other characters who were to entertain them for the next two hours.
Romeo and Juliet at the Fire Station is a promenade performance, so as well as being outdoors the audience were asked to follow the action as it moved around the set: from the market scene, to ‘Capulet’s Cappucinos’ coffee shop, Juliet’s bedroom and Friar Lawrence’s cell. Each (OK, well, most) of the movements were smooth and efficient, and with characters running through the audience at points it certainly felt like everyone watching was part of the action.
Though the entire cast put on a great show the highlights have got to be Mico Simonde and Philip McGuiness, who stole the show with their portrayal of Benvolio and Mercutio – although the decision to involve a couple of Fire Engines (again, no clues as to why!) in the action was another show-stopper, adding to the fantastic atmosphere that came from watching a production take place on a working Fire Station.
All in all it was a funny, moving, and generally outstanding performance, of which all involved should be justifiably proud.
Romeo and Juliet at the Fire Station will be performed tonight at 7.30pm, and tomorrow (Saturday 28th) at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.