ROMEO PLAYED BY SHELDON HALL AND JULIET PERFORMED BY NATALIE TICHENOR FOR COTTAGE THEATER’S LATEST SUCCESS, ROMEO AND JULIET. Photo provided/Cottage Theatre
By Mike Rothgeb
The Creswell Chronicle
I would like to preface this review by stating I am not typically a Shakespeare fan. While I can appreciate his dedication to his works, it has never really done that much for me. That being said, ”Romeo and Juliet” presented by Cottage Theatre may have changed my mind of The Bard and his plays. Now, on to the review.
As many of you know, ”Romeo and Juliet” is a tale as old as time: Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl. Boy inadvertently kills girl’s cousin. Boy is banished from his home and forced to live in exile. Yada yada yada. We’ve all been there, right?
Simply put, the premiere performance I went to on Friday, Feb. 1 was truly enchanting. From the directing, acting and the choreography, everything felt as if I weren’t just a spectator, but a part of the characters’ lives.
Directed by Tony Rust, this adaptation of ”Romeo and Juliet” is breathtaking. From the characters’ movements around the stage to the epic fight scenes, everything was expertly directed and acted out. Paired with Stage Manager Amanda Ferguson, the actors popped on the stage. Whether it was the extravagant costumes, perfectly timed music and lighting or meticulously detailed set – everything was created with great care and commitment.
As soon as I took my seat, I was thrust into the middle of an exciting and well-choreographed introduction that set the stage for the rest of the performance. This three-hour long play had perfect pacing all the way until its tragic and inevitable conclusion.
While watching the actors portraying their characters, I was entranced by the level of talent onstage. Romeo, performed by Sheldon Hall, was extremely charismatic and epitomized the Romeo character to a T. Hall’s opposite, Juliet, performed by Natalie Tichenor, brought extreme passion and love to her character and the scenes with her beloved.
Kory Weimer, playing the villainous Tybalt, was perfectly cast for the role and made me feel actual hatred for the man. Larry Brown was another perfect choice for the Friar Lawrence character, who showed a heartwarming performance as he guided and protected the two lovebirds. Also worth a mention, Samuel Pearson, who played Peter, was another performance whose subtle and humorous role captured the eye.
Oh, and did I mention Pearson is only 15?
Last, but far from least, I want to mention the eccentric and engaging Mercutio, portrayed by Joel Ibáñez. I’m not sure if it was Rust’s directing style, Ibáñez’s interpretation of Mercutio or a combination of the two, but his rendition of the character was spectacular. Every time Mercutio was onstage, he stole the spotlight and left the audience laughing and engaged.
I wish I could single out every actor for their part in the performance, but due to space limitations, I cannot. I do want to mention that every actor shined, gave it their all and should be proud of their parts in the play. I was extremely impressed with the number of talented individuals that graced the stage.
Every time I see a Cottage Theatre performance I am blown away by the caliber of acting and directing they have to offer. Whether you’re a Shakespeare fan or this is your first exposure to his work, I highly recommend not letting this one pass by.