Theater: Romeo & Juliet – West End

Opened: May 12, 2016

Book by: William Shakespeare

West End Cast: Richard Madden, Lily James, Derek Jacobi, Maria Berenson, Jack Colgrave Hirst, Tom Hanson, Matthew Hawksley, Taylor James, Pip Jordan, Ansu Kabia, Racheal Ofori, Nikki Patel, Chris Porter, Zoe Rainey, Michael Rouse, Meera Syal, Samuel Valentine & Kathryn Wilder

The classic Shakespeare drama gets an update on stage thanks to visionary director Kenneth Branagh.

As the Capulet and Montague families feud in Verona, Italy, their children Romeo (Richard Madden) and Juliet (Lily James) become star-crossed lovers. Knowing they can never be together – and with lots of drama involved – the two plan to run off together.

Instead of adaptations that keep the storyline in its original form or ones that put it in modern day, Branagh stages it in 1950s Italy. It gives the storyline style and sophistication. Mercutio (Derek Jacobi) is also made into an older figure that Romeo and Benvolio (Jack Colgrave Hirst) look up to.

Madden and James – whom previously starred in Branagh’s Cinderella – have electric chemistry that radiates off the screen.

Final say: One of the best adaptations. ★★★★☆

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