— Dennis Brown
Romeo and Juliet A lavishly staged and powerfully acted production of Shakespeare's classic, ablaze with the crackling life of its '60s-era inner-city setting. Director Chris Anthony pays meticulous attention to the power of the language, lacing the theme of love's spiritually redemptive power with terrible moments of hate, lust and human frailty. Romeo (Nic Few) and Juliet (Sharisa Whatley) are immature and impetuous teenagers swept away by a maelstrom of passion. Chauncy Thomas crafts a Mercutio who's buck wild and full of life, while his foe, Tybalt (Tim Norman), imagines less and suffers just the same. Beautiful to look at, hip and whip-smart in execution and beautifully acted from its boisterous opening scene to the quiet, devastating finale that still offers an evocative, hopeful note. Presented by the Black Rep through February 14 at the Grandel Theatre, 3610 Grandel Square. Tickets are $17 to $43. Call 314-534-3810 or visit www.theblackrep.org.
— Paul Friswold
Steel Magnolias Reviewed in this issue.