Pop-up Globe's farewell season begins with a suitably raucous stage invasion which instantly establishes the intimate bond with the audience that has made the venture such a sensational success.
For four years, the company's brilliantly constructed replica of the Globe has given Aucklanders an opportunity to experience the exuberant, democratic spirit of the theatrical revolution which erupted more than 400 years ago in the heart of London.
Miles Gregory's Romeo & Juliet strikes a fine balance between the humour and pathos of Shakespeare's complex meditation on the youthful passions that can both threaten and heal a society blighted by conflict.
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The deadly enmity between the Capulets and Montagues is chillingly brought to life in expertly choreographed street brawls, while the awkwardness of teenage love is hilariously highlighted with elaborate fancy dress costumes that make a nod to Taika Waititi's Eagle vs Shark.
The wildly fluctuating emotions of the star-crossed lovers are captured in two superb performances. Jess Hong brings a wonderfully authentic quality to her portrayal of Juliet as a dutiful daughter whose world is turned upside-down by the inexplicable, irrational energy of an all-consuming love.
Darcy Kent's Romeo movingly carries off the transition from a nerdy love-sick boy to the intensely driven romantic hero who brings the story to its tragic conclusion with beautifully articulated delivery of Shakespeare's poetry.
Stephen Lovatt gives an electrifying performance as Lord Capulet, with explosive outbursts of rage emerging out of the brittle conviviality of a patriarch who cannot tolerate any challenge to his authority.
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Rutene Spooner supplies comic highlights with a compelling display of fa'afafine swag, while Aruna Po-Ching is a warmly dignified Lady Capulet, and Alexander Holloway brings a thuggish intensity to the fiery Tybalt.
The Pop-up Globe will be sorely missed, but this production demonstrates the company is well placed to bring its deeply engaging and richly multicultural performance style to the world.
What: Romeo & Juliet
Where & when: Pop-up Globe, Ellerslie Racecourse until March 1.
Reviewer: Paul Simei-Barton