Romeo and Juliet Director Robin Weatherall's slight reimagining of Romeo and Juliet is set in Palestine in 1947 during the violent buildup surrounding the birth of Israel. So Romeo (the ever-dependable Rusty Gunther) and the Montagues are Jewish and Juliet (Meg Rodd Gunther, brassy yet beguiling) and her Capulet kin are Muslim. It's a compelling setup, but nothing in the action or language ever conveys Romeo's Judaism; this becomes distracting at key moments, such as when Romeo goes to see the presumably Anglican Father Laurence (Kevin Beyer in a well-crafted characterization) for "confession." But Weatherall's decision to cast Brooke Edwards as a female Mercutio secretly in love with an oblivious Romeo is change we can believe in; Edwards imbues Mercutio's speeches with towering passion and bitter yearning. Too bad Mercutio dies in Act One. Also of note is B. Weller's absolutely terrifying turn as Capulet; his brutal argument with daughter and wife elicited spontaneous applause. Presented by the New Jewish Theatre through May 2 at the Missouri History Museum, Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue (in Forest Park). Tickets are $26 to $34 (discounts available for students, seniors and JCC or MHM members). Call 314-361-9017 or visit www.newjewishtheatre.org. (PF)
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.