First Look: Romeo and Juliet presented by Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, directed by Nick Bagnall

The Everyman Company will join with the award-winning Young Everyman Playhouse (YEP) forRomeo and Juliet.

Set in a world of gangs, Nick Bagnall’s production reimagines Shakespeare’s classic love tale for 21st Century audiences, exploring sexuality with some of the characters having their gender swapped, including Juliet who will become Julius.

O, be some other name. What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet; So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called. Romeo, doff thy name, and for that name which is no part of thee take all myself.

This contemporary view of the play will be an edited, fast paced production where there is bloodshed on the streets and family rivalries and arranged marriages are common place. The ‘swords’ of the original will be replaced with the ‘knives’ of today.

George Caple (Romeo) and Elliott Kingsley (Julius) will play the star-crossed lovers. Caple graduated from RADA in 2016 and has appeared in Who Cares (Lowry) and Epic Love and Pop Songs (Pleasance) prior to the Everyman Rep Season. Kingsley came through the theatre’s YEP auditions to take up a training place in the Company funded by Everyman alumni and his roles in the Rep Season mark his professional stage debut.

Harnessing YEP’s explosive youth to energise Shakespeare’s exploration of young love and transgression, the production will feature two YEP members Isobel Balchin (Benvolio) and Alice Corrigan (Balthasar) along with a Women’s Chorus and a further 25 young people as the rival gangs. The thread of youthful promise in the production is continued backstage with LIPA Design Prize winnerMolly Elizabeth Lacey Davies designing the set.

Director Nick Bagnall said: “It is a play that is constantly revisited and demands to be placed in modern times to allow it to reflect the lives of young people today. We are strongly committed to creating work with and for young people, so bringing the Rep Company together with YEP and Romeo & Juliet in such an exciting way is the perfect choice.”

The season comes full circle in the final production with the full Company featuring. Richard Bremmerplays Friar Laurence, Patrick Brennan is the Prince, Tom Kanji plays Tybalt and Friar John, Asha Kingsley plays Lady Capulet, the Nurse will be Melanie La Barrie, Dean Nolan will be Mercutio, Zelina Rebeiro plays Countess Paris and Lord and Lady Montague will be played by Liam Tobin and Keddy Sutton. Pauline Daniels, Laura Dos Santos and Emily Hughes join the chorus.