Romeo & Juliet

Shakespeare BASH'd offers a terrifically different take on a classic tragedy

Presented by Shakespeare BASH'd
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by James Wallis

Kelly Penner and Hallie Seline in Romeo & Juliet.

This week, catch the 2012 Best of Fringe winner Shakespeare BASH'd's production of Romeo & Juliet at 3030 Dundas. As with the company’s hit festival shows at the Victory Café, audience members are encouraged to enjoy a drink or few throughout the performance, just as they did in Shakespeare’s day. (It should be mentioned that 3030’s outstanding $5 bar menu—a steal—should be taken full advantage of.)

Putting a fresh face on one of the world’s most famous plays is a daunting task, but director James Wallis’ bare bones philosophy and immersive approach is up to the challenge. Without giving too much away, let me just say that the play begins in a delightfully unconventional way, and its energetic cast manages to maintain an air of fun throughout most of the play, despite—spoiler alert—teenage suicide.

The cast delivers excellent performances across the board, particularly shining in the comedic arena with standout performances by Milan Malisic (Mercutio) and Julia Nish-Lapidus (Nurse). The production captures the spirit of Shakespeare’s tribute to adolescent love so well that although the first half is peppered with suggestions of imminent disaster, it almost reads as one of his greatest comedies.

Kelly Penner and Hallie Seline’s Romeo and Juliet project a sweetness and naivete appropriate to the roles, and lines that are perhaps too famous for their own good are delivered with slightly mischievous self-awareness that somehow does not detract from the gravity of the subject matter. A sense of tragedy and inevitability of death doesn’t fully descend until the second half of the play, and the transition provides an interesting reminder of how shocking the gruesome ending would have been to contemporary audiences. Although I’ve seen Romeo & Juliet played out dozens of times, I found myself thinking: since when do two beautiful, rich, young kids meet in Verona and then commit double suicide a few days later?

Don’t miss this entertaining and provocative interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. Romeo & Juliet runs until November 23 at 3030 Dundas. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2013-11-19 - Sat, 2013-11-23
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