BEST REASON TO RECONSIDER YOUR FEAR OF SHAKESPEARE Phoenix 2004 - Nearly Naked Theatre's Shakespeare's R & J
By now, we're accustomed to complex, compelling entertainment from this tireless troupe. But Nearly Naked's take on Joe Calarco's smart, sexy Shakespeare's R & J was more than fun to watch -- it made us want to go home and read Twelfth Night. Fortunately for us, an intimate relationship with the Bard wasn't necessary to grasp the genius of Calarco's script -- thanks to director Damon Dering's talent for drawing subtle parallels between tormented youth and the kids in Romeo and Juliet, the ultimate story of adolescent tragedy. Dering's gifted cast nailed the angst of Catholic school youths stifled by the repressive regime of a Catholic boarding school, who meet to read aloud from a banned copy of Romeo and Juliet. The spartan set and wonderfully low-tech sound design, executed live by a chorus that created the sounds of wind and heartbeat with just their lungs and their teeth, set the stage for one of last season's very best productions.