On the site of a soon-to-be-built outdoor Shakespearean theatre, Globe Berlin presents a taste of what’s to come with a summer of classics from the playwright’s arsenal. Clearly taking its cues from the original Globe reconstruction in London, this is theatre at its broadest and most unashamedly entertaining, with bawdy humour and swashbuckling choreography aplenty. Romeo and Juliet is perhaps the ideal vehicle for this kind of project and the ensemble deliver an excellent evening’s entertainment. The open-air setting adds to a relaxed Shakespeare in the Park vibe, only occasionally interrupted by passing ambulances and police cars. As the titular couple, Maximilian Werde and Nadja Schminonsky head up a talented and energetic cast. Benjamin Krüger, in particular, stands out as Mercutio, whilst Astrid Köhler delivers a winning comic turn as Juliet’s nurse. Admittedly, given that Christian Leonard’s direction leans heavily on the play’s comic aspects, the bawdiness of the first act awkwardly gives way to a sombreness in the second, which makes for a slight unevenness of tone overall. Considering its constraints, however, this production punches considerably above its weight, putting other productions of Shakespeare’s classics at larger, better-funded theatres to shame. Except for a few directorial missteps in the second half, this production certainly whips up an appetite for more.
Romeo and Juliet | Directed by Christian Leonard, in German on Sep 11, 13, 14, in English on Sep 12, 19:30, Globe Berlin, Charlottenburg