Romeo and Juliet, the well-known tale of star-crossed lovers, is one of William Shakespeare's most performed tragedies and the fall 2012 version by Shorecrest drama students delivers a fast-paced hit.
The Shorecrest production, performed in the school cafeteria because the school's performing arts center is under construction, offers an intimate experience for the audience.
All seats are only six or so rows deep and surround the stage, so everyone is close to the actors and the action, including the sword fights choreographed by Geoffry Alm.
Director Andy Kidd sticks fairly close to Shakespeare's classic adaptation of the story of doomed love between Romeo, son of the House of Montague and Juliet, daughter of the rival House of Capulet, set in Verona, Italy in the 1500s.
The lead role of Romeo is played by junior Josiah Glesener, who has performed major roles in the Shorecrest drama program since he was a freshman. Glesener gets stronger as the play goes on delivering the sonnets with ease while displaying a believable earnestness for Juliet and a dark side as the tragic circumstances unfold.
Romeo's sidekicks, cousin Benvolio, played by Carson Buck-Flinchum and Mercutio, played by Henry Davis, do an admirable job in supporting roles, and it's a bit disappointing that Mercutio doesn't live to see the second act.
Shalee Murphy, who plays the young beauty Juliet, delivers a strong performance hitting the right emotional notes while developing good chemistry with Glesener.
Tybalt, Juliet's cousin, who is none too happy to see Romeo at the ball at the House of Capulet, is portrayed with a frothing anger by Kennedy Small.
Mimi Alexander gives a nice supporting performance as Juliet's nurse. Lord Capulet, played by Isaac DeWitt and Lady Capulet, played by Emma Smith, give solid, believable peformances as Juliet's parents.
The well-meaning Friar Laurence, who is sympathetic to the challenge faced by the young lovers, is played in an understated way by Ben Flohr.
Costume designer Erin McSwain and her assistants deserve kudos for the Shakespearan period costumes.
Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare's most accessible plays and the Shorecrest production and despite some of its dark themes can be enjoyed by all ages.
The production continues this week starting Wed. Nov. 14 to Sat. Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee concludes the run at 2 p.m. Nov. 18.
Tickets are $8 in advance and may be reserved by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 206-393-6224. Tickets are also available at the door for $10 but seating is limited.
The play runs about 1 hour and 45 minutes with a 15 minute intermission.