A Tender Thing, RSC, Swan Theatre, Stratford Upon Avon
A Tender Thing
Swan theatre, Stratford upon Avon
Romeo in a cardie; Juliet in a wheelchair. Romantic gyrations in the geriatric ward? I feared the worst.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
In fact, this sensitive remix of the world's favourite love story is touching, occasionally painful, and guaranteed to move any soul that has lost an aged parent to debility or dementia.
It's commonly said that by the time an actress can play Juliet, she's too old to play a girl "not yet fourteen." So the then RSC artistic director Michael Boyd asked writer Ben Power to come up with a version for oldies.
He chose to chop and dice dialogue from the original play to represent the dying days of an aged Juliet, as she and her devoted husband relive golden memories, and contemplate a merciful euthanasia.
This sets a heck of a challenge to actors Kathryn Hunter and Richard McCabe to speak verses of youthful infatuation some 60 years on. Hunter, tiny of stature, expansive of gesture, responds as if re-enacting childhood melodrama; McCabe offers a detached irony of fond recollection.
The most affecting scenes in the piece of just 80 minutes, however, are those close to the now helpless Juliet's end, as her constant lover spins her around by a walking stick attached to her wheelchair. She bubbles with laughter, then fatally collapses.
What a way to go.
A Tender Thing continues to 20 October. Tickets at www.rsc.org.uk or 0844 800 1110.