romeo and juliet
West Yorkshire Playhouse
Until March 25
Tickets 0113 213 7700 or www.wyp.org.uk
A staple on the school syllabus, Romeo and Juliet is in many ways an easy choice for any theatre to stage and guarantees decent ticket sales. What’s not so easy is creating a production which stands out from the rest.
However, West Yorkshire Playhouse’s new production which opened this week has a head start having Amy Leach, recently appointed associate director at the theatre, at the helm. If anyone can make literature’s most famous star-crossed lovers relevant for the contemporary stage it’s probably Leach.
In recent years, it’s her deft hand which has been behind the likes of Kes, Little Sure Shot and The Night Before Christmas and she was adamant that this Romeo and Juliet should again speak to a young audience. “No play captures the headiness of young love, passion and fury like Romeo and Juliet. It’s a play I have always wanted to direct, but now really did feel like the right time.
“Over the last year there has been so much change politically that the story of two families who can’t see what they have in common because they only see what divides them has never seemed more pertinent.
“We are living in a world where we are becoming more inward looking and less tolerant of difference and those are issues that Shakespeare really addresses in Romeo and Juliet.
“A few of us involved in this production joined the anti-Trump protests in Leeds after he tried to ban residents from various countries travelling to America. At one point I looked around and saw that the crowds were full of young people and it did give me hope for the future.”