Bakehouse Theatre
Until 07 Mar 2020

Review by Helen Karakulak

“Children of an Idle Brain” is an innovative production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from a contemporary perspective. Focussing on the relationship between Tybalt and Mercutio, this comic-tragic theatre piece explores the awkward reality of coming to terms with your sexuality and navigating your first relationship.

Sarah Treadwell is excellent as Mercutio, with a charismatic stage presence indicating a maturity necessary to her character’s strong sense of self. Luci Rawson’s Tybalt is an eloquent juxtaposition to Treadwell’s Mercutio, exhibiting a realistic depiction of the anxiety and aggression that often comes from discovering your sexuality.

The highlight of “Children of an Idle Brain” is its criticism of the character of Romeo that’s become a common romantic archetype. Lili Smith is an outspoken Romeo, that does well at projecting an unlikeable persona onto an unwilling Juliet, played by Meg Whiteman. Whiteman does well at presenting the traditionally submissive Juliet as confrontational while maintaining a poised demeanour.

Clare Steele’s Sammy was a unique addition to the performance by giving a romantic voice to a server. Sammy’s relationship with Georgie, played by Hannah Smailes, acts as an interesting contrast to the relationship between Tybalt and Mercutio. This contrast was successful in conveying that despite status, the process of exploring sexuality and navigating relationships remains a universal feeling.

Despite moments when the voices of the chorus weren’t cohesive and some actors projecting better than others, the original music was fun and upbeat.

With inventive staging and contemporary perspective, this production is a well-choreographed, entertaining retelling of Romeo and Juliet.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)