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Joe Calarco’s Shakespeare’s R and J at the Tabard Theatre

Shakespeare R and J “Shakespeare’s R&J” is an exciting and refreshing new adaptation of Shakespeare’s original love story. Four talented young actors play boys at a strict and repressive boarding school. During the day they are forced to go through classes in religion, Latin and even the study of women’s roles in society. After classes have finished, one of the boys produces a copy of Romeo and Juliet and they all take it in turns to read passages from it. As the play progresses the boys become more deeply immersed in the characters and themes of the play and the lines between acting and reality become blurred. The love theme, of course, is played out by two boys which is exactly how it would have been played in Shakespeare’s day.

Chapel Lane Theatre Company is a newly formed company based in Stratford-upon-Avon. The company comprises three friends who all have experience in professional theatre, most notably with the Royal Shakespeare Company. They are committed to producing interesting and thought provoking work both original and established. The company have many well known supporters and are immensely proud that their patron is Edward Bennett who has recently been seen playing the lead roles in Loves Labours Lost and Loves Labours Won (Much Ado About Nothing) at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

This production was originally performed in Stratford-upon-Avon in October 2014 to great acclaim. Sandy Holt, the Arts Editor for the Stratford upon Avon Herald, reviewed the show giving it 5 stars and calling it “An effortlessly, triumphant production“. “There is no weak link among the actors. Each takes on a different personality as they react to the discovery of a battered copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and read it and perform it in their dormitory. What transpires both within the text and on stage is an inspired performance“.

Many people think that “Shakespeare’s R&J” is just another version of Romeo and Juliet. It isn’t! The play is about four schoolboys in a strict boarding school who just happen to find an old copy of Romeo and Juliet and read extracts from it. Through the “reading” of Shakespeare’s words, the boys embark on a voyage of self-discovery and throughout the evening we see the boys likes and dislikes, their friendships and relationships, their hates and jealousies. In a way we are watching boys becoming men and, by the end of the evening, life for one of the boys will never be the same again.”

“Shakespeare’s R&J is a fascinating and unique play. When I first read it I was enthralled by it and really wanted to see how it would work in a live performance. I have four fabulously talented young actors who have worked incredibly hard to bring something unique to the stage and I believe we have achieved everything that Joe Calarco wanted from the play. I sincerely hope that people will come and see the play and be equally enthralled, excited and moved by it.” Chris Harvey

FROM 30th JUNE TO 8th AUGUST 2015
Shakespeare’s R&J
30 June – 8 August 2015
Tue – Sat 7:30pm
Sat Matinees 4pm
Sun Matinee 2pm
Tickets £17/£15
The performance lasts two hours including a 15 minute interval

Sunday 5th July 2015


  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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