Romeo and Juliet | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Romeo and Juliet 

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If you think you got everything out of this love story from high school or college readings and the Zeffirelli film, think again. Director Mark Lamos and his cast find new twists in Shakespeare's famous words and familiar family dynamics, giving this production a contemporary sensibility despite its period setting. Lamos presents the Capulets and Montagues not just as parental units but as identifiable married couples; Friar Laurence (played charmingly by Mike Nussbaum) is not so much a pious confessor as the lovers' gleeful accomplice; even the ball breaking by the rival Verona gangs feels fresh. Tweaking the rhythm of the lines, Lamos turns phrases like "Thou kiss by the book" and "Holy St. Francis!" into comic one-liners, bringing the proceedings to a giddy pitch before plunging into the final tragic scene, which Carman Lacivita and Julia Coffey execute with convincing heartbreak and resolve. Such sweet sorrow indeed. Through 6/19: Wed 1 and 7:30 PM, Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 4 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 PM. Tue 5/17-6/14, 7:30 PM. Wed 4/20, 5/4, and 5/11, 7:30 PM only. No show Thu 4/28. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand, 312-595-5600 (TTY 312-595-5699). $48-$65.

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