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Romeo & Juliet 

When was the last time you saw everyone in a Shakespeare play dressed up in Renaissance clothes?

Wednesday, Oct 9 2002
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The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival gives a full-dress, traditional-costumed production of Romeo & Juliet that seems almost as rare as a good one: How long has it been since you've seen everyone in a Shakespeare play dressed up in Renaissance clothes? The effect is almost over-the-top, especially here, since Russell Treyz has directed his cast to make big, vivid gestures that seem perfect for an outdoor stage but may be too large for the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre. The show is heavily edited and easy to follow -- a good thing -- but Roberto Robinson's Mercutio, for example, tramples over the Queen Mab speech with all his hammy innuendo. Alex Moggridge and Jacqueline Hillsman play an eager, bursting Romeo and Juliet, and Julian Lopez-Morillas is a busy Friar Lawrence, rushing around and mixing herbal concoctions with his mortar and pestle. (Those latter three performances drive the show.) Treyz has a Baz Luhrmann-esque way of making difficult material accessible to the masses, and his outsize style pays off in the end with a terrifically Gothic tomb scene. Overall, though, the production is a kind of coloring-book Romeo, solid and bright but not particularly subtle.

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