A four manned testosterone pumped Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s R&J. returns to theatres with a three state tour including two seasons at Riverside Theatres.

Directed by the highly acclaimed Craig Ilott, this fascinating, insightful and beautifully crafted play commences at Riverside Theatres on April 22 and will play regional NSW and Victoria along with Brisbane, Melbourne plus a return season at Riverside.

In the repressive atmosphere of a Catholic boys boarding school where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has been banned, four students sneak out at night to secretly explore the play for their own enjoyment.  At first it’s just for laughs, but as the young men discover the themes of secret and forbidden love, they gradually immerse themselves in the roles.

“I wanted to get to the essence of what I think Shakespeare is: passionate, violent, thrilling and theatrical” said playwright, Joe Calarco. ”By cutting the cast to four guys we’ve been able to explore the way men interact and how they view women, sex and masculinity.  The concept of students in a private school was created in order to mirror Shakespeare’s Verona and the stifling, repressive, forbidden world that Romeo and Juliet inhabit” continued Joe Calarco.

Bryce Hallet of the Sydney Morning herald review said:  “Initial reminders of Peter Weir’s Dead Poets Society fall away when the students, at first mocking and reckless, enter into the intoxicating spirit and seduction of the play, and fathom their own meanings.”

R&J is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet retold with a startling clarity that captures the daring and energy of adolescence with refreshing theatricality,” said Riverside Theatres Producer, Camilla Rountree.  “We have assembled a cast of some of the hottest young stars in Australia for this vital production.

Shakespeare’s classic tragedy features the talents of young actors, Julian Curtis, Andrew Hazzard, Ben Gerrard and Tom Stokes playing the four young students. NIDA graduate Julian Curtis’ theatre credits include Hot House Theatre & Sydney Theatre Company’s Embers, Queensland Theatre Company’s 25 Down and Sydney Theatre Company’s Gallipoli and his television credits include Rescue Special Ops and East West 101.

Fresh from the lead role in Sydney Theatre Company’s Spring Awakening, Andrew Hazzard is a charismatic actor whose credits include Disney’s High School Musical – Live on Stage, ABC TV’s Dance Academy, Underbelly: The Golden Mile, ABC TV’s My Place and All Saints.

NIDA graduate, Ben Gerrard is well acquainted with Shakespeare, most recently in Bell Shakespeare’s Actors at Work, Canute Productions’ Shakespeare on Trial and in the Riverside’s 2008 season of Shakespeare’s R&J. Gerrard recent short film credits include Dream the Life and Veneer.

WAAPA graduate, Tom Stokes has been in a number of WAAPA student productions including most recently Julius Caesar. He is a skilled theatre sports improviser.  His film credits include Wasted on Young, Plum Role and short films Spirited, Shatter and At Play.

Shakespeare’s R&J is an innovative and highly physical interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.  A hit world wide, it played over four hundred performances in New York and won the prestigious Lucille Lortel Award.

"With touching performances, beautifully directed using minimal props, it’s powerful stuff." – Jo Litson, Sunday Telegraph

"The schoolyard rough and tumble, the lovers’ passion and the confusion and aggression those feelings provoke are expertly orchestrated in Craig Ilott’s uncluttered, high energy production." – Jason Blake, Sun Herald

Riverside Theatres wishes to advise patrons that this production is also a part of our Education Season. Please note that our 11am performances are also offered to school-age audiences, however patrons are most welcome to attend.

RIVERSIDE THEATRES, Cnr Church and Market Sts, Parramatta

DATES: April 22 -30

Return Season   June 17- 19

TIMES: Thu 22 Apr, Fri 23 Apr, Tue 27 Apr, Wed 28 Apr, Thu 29 Apr, Fri 30 Apr, Thu 17 Jun, Fri 18 Jun at 11am; Sat 24 Apr, Fri 18 Jun, Sat 19 Jun at 7.30pm; Sat 19 Jun at 2.15pm

SINGLE TICKET PRICES: Adults $36, Conc $32,

SEASON TICKETS: Adults $32, Conc $40, 30 & Under $28

BOOKINGS: Riverside Box Office 02 8839 3399 or www.riversideparramatta.com.au