The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1876 Thursday, 26 July 2001
Date: Thursday, 26 Jul 2001 08:29:49
Subject: "Lesbian" Romeo and Juliet in Birmingham
The following article appeared in the Daily Telegraph. (The URL can be
found after the "copy & paste".) The "lesbian adaptation" was the exact
phrase the newspaper used. Has anyone seen this production?
PS The punctuation used in the title of the article is not mine but the
"Wherefore art thou, Romeo?"
By Daily Telegraph Correspondent
IT is one of the few absolutes of Shakespeare that when Juliet calls out
from her balcony for Romeo in Scene II, she is referring to her man.
No longer. A new interpretation of Romeo and Juliet being staged this
week has dispensed with Romeo the man and replaced him with Romeo the
woman. The lesbian adaptation of the play has already attracted
criticism, promising as it does a bed chamber scene complete with
kissing in the nude.
Traditionalists will no doubt be further appalled to learn that Juliet's
nurse has been turned into a homosexual transvestite. Yesterday, the
producers of the play, being staged at the Crescent Theatre in
Birmingham, defended the changes and denied they were merely trying to
Nick Fogg, 28, the female director and a member of the Rattlestick
theatre company based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, claimed the credit for
coming up with the idea of two female leads.
"I don't think anyone else has done the play in this way," she said. "It
is not meant to be offensive or gratuitous. It is being done carefully
and tastefully in a modern setting, sticking faithfully to the original
In the production Romeo is played by Kate Hilder, 21, and Juliet by
Bobby Bancroft, 25. The play runs from Wednesday for four nights as part
of a two-week fringe festival in the city.
Dick Knight, a director of the festival, said: "This is not a
deliberately sensationalist production and is not meant to titillate
audiences." But Tony Wareing, chairman of the pressure group Mediawatch
UK, accused the producers of cashing in on controversy.
"People are becoming heartily sick of this sort of thing being offered
up as entertainment," he said. "What a pity we have to see this sort of
sensationalism in an attempt to fill seats."
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