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Romeo & Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe

Paul Russell

The Globe's 2004 season of Star-Crossed Lovers would hardly be complete without Romeo & Juliet.

But, given this is Shakespeare's most populist and well-known play, could the company of men and women players bring it off the page and into life? I wasn't disappointed.

A humorous, tongue-in-cheek rendition made the famous balcony scene fresh again; and the beguiling Globe worked its usual magic elsewhere – such as the moving death of Mercutio, ably played by James Garnon.

Of course, the great thing about the Bard is the timeless relevance of his work. Romeo & Juliet's central theme of love breaking out between warring tribes is highly evocative of the Palestine-Israeli conflict. At the end of the play, as the rival families realise the tragic cost of their feud and reach a long-overdue reconciliation, there is modern-day pathos in the closing line – 'For never was a story of more woe, than this Juliet, and her Romeo.'

• Romeo & Juliet continues at Shakespeare's Globe until Sunday 26 September.
• 020 7401 9919

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