What if…? Juliet and Romeo live another day

Battersea Arts Centre/Lost Dog Dance Co

This must not sound trite, being only mid-February, but I’ve now seen the most dynamic, perceptive,poignant, unusual, funny and tragic piece of theatre this year.

Juliet and Romeo is, allegedly, a guide to a long and happy marriage. Taking the stage are two middle aged people about to have their relationship analysed, dissected, dissembled and possibly destroyed – who knows – in public.

The premise is that neither the dagger nor the poison was actually used, and our Shakespearean tragic heroes live another day to tell their story. Of a getaway by taxi , and a flight to Paris, in fact, where mundane life takes over.

Underlying their story of domestic discord is the sense of ultimate betrayal…you mean, you didn’t love me enough to kill yourself for me? But the story is told in a beautiful fusion of acting, dance and music, the speciality of the Lost Dog company.

Our “tragic heroes” are Ben Duke ( co-founder, with Raquel Meseguer, of the company) and Solene Weinachter, who present in startling physical form and acute narrative observation, the story of all our lives, all our relationships.

It is at times exquistely funny and desperately sad. The achingly familiar detail of Juliet’s response to “how was your day?”. The writer who turned up at the door with a bottle of whisky to interview the couple, and six weeks later a Shakespeare play is delivered by post.

The music… from Prokofiev to Simon and Garfunkel by way of Frank Sinatra and John Cage …. is chosen with extreme care and sensibility. The dance routines (a poor choice of word, but what else can I use?), the way in which a relationship is lived out through intimate movement, deliver sensuality and sensitivity along with demonstrations of harmony and strength.

This is a clever, funny, provocative piece of theatre. You will laugh and you will cry. That’s a guarantee .

Juliet and Romeo runs until March 3 at The Place, Battersea Arts Centre. Bookings: https://www.bac.org.uk/content/43610/whats_on/whats_on/shows/juliet_and_romeo

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