Year 9 boys were given the amazing opportunity to view an abridged adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, performed by the innovative and respected, Young Shakespeare Company.

Even 400 years or so after it was written, the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet still remains a dynamic and action-packed play which portrays the tragic consequences of fate onto unsuspecting characters. The Young Shakespeare Company however, added a pinch of humour to their performance by actively employing the suggestions of the eager audience on what characteristics and personalities the actors should adopt and then acting out a certain scene in that way - with comic consequences! My personal favourite was when Lord Capulet and Tybalt acted out a particularly violent scene in a Teletubbies style, to gales of laughter from students and teachers alike.

True Love - Tom Burke, Year 9

Amongst all of the laughter and excitement, we learned how to use our surroundings to create an atmosphere and to make our characters stand out. For example, the actors had nothing but a table and a few small props, which they used to great effect (like stabbing each other with cooking utensils in the fight between Romeo and Tybalt). This meant that they had to move around a lot to create a sense of the area and to interact with the audience to really show off their characters' personality.

We also saw how characters should be presented both physically and emotionally on stage, and how different character's actions must seamlessly interact on stage to prevent causing confusion or a lack of direction. This was presented to us when the Montague and Capulet families were in a bitter argument. We saw how their contrasting actions added a sense of foreboding, which eventually led to a fully-fledged fight, with Tybalt having an ice cream dumped onto his head, much to the initial surprise and amusement of the audience, and Mercutio tragically dying off scene. We also learned about how to stage fight, throwing convincing, but thankfully fake, punches and kicks!

Overall, it was a very instructive and interesting performance. We learnt about a lot including how to use your surroundings effectively, and use gesture and posture to create a powerful performance. I would personally, on behalf of Year 9, like to thank the English Team for organising this very instructive, interesting and humorous performance; and the Young Shakespeare Company for putting on such an exciting and interesting production.