The first season of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company promises a year of unmissable theatre.
Working in collaboration with artistic associates, director Rob Ashford and designer Christopher Oram, the acclaimed actor-director Kenneth Branagh presents an exceptional series of five plays that bring together a remarkable group of actors, led by Rob Brydon, Freddie Fox, Judi Dench, Lily James and Richard Madden.
Romeo and Juliet
By William Shakespeare
Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden, Freddie Fox and Lily James who play the leads in Shakespeare’s heartbreaking tale of forbidden love.
Richard Madden and Freddie Fox will be sharing the role of Romeo to allow Richard Madden to recover from an ankle injury. In an additional cast update, the role of Paris will now be played by Matthew Hawksley due to Tom Hanson injuring his leg.
Kenneth Branagh - Romeo and Juliet reviews
We booked this play on the basis of the two leads, Lily James and Richard Madden and the chemistry professed to be between them on the publicity photos. First disappointment was no Richard Madden on the night. Second disappointment was the absolute dire lack of any kind of rapport between Romeo and Juliet. The play was dull, dull, dull. Lily did her best, but her Romeo felt like he was reading his lines like a bus timetable. Along with the stifling heat in the stalls of the theatre we had great difficulty staying awake towards the end of the play and came out feeling very let down by the whole thing - more like a school play production that West End!
Enjoyed this production so much!
Loved the show but my seat had very restricted viewing. So when they say it's restricted, believe them. Apart from that the acting, set and costumes were great
Cannot lie booked this to see Richard. However Lily James, Derek Jacobi and Meera Syal served up a delight with the cast. Enjoyed the humour , simple stark scenery and Juliet's excitement versus doubt. In the last Act found belief slightly suspended and duets speeches went on and on. Thought how efficient today's youth have become with language ! Great show, great theatre lucky me.
Thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet- especially performances by Lily James and Derek Jacobi . Slightly marred by excessive heat due to lack of air con . Also some noise from tube trains and police sirens. Still wouldn't have missed it for anything!
Fabulous production, the best we have ever seen. Lily James was outstanding, disappointed not to see Richard Madden but his replacement Freddie Fox delivered a superb performance. Highly recommend this fantastic play.
From the start the performance opens with a sleek scene reminiscent of the golden era of hollywood and continues in this fashion. The stand out was Derek Jacobi who's experience as an actor proved it's weight. His comical notes were excellent. The quality of having Lilly James, Meera Syal and Maria Berensen also shone through. The actors who played Tybalt & Lord Capulet I thought were very good too. There was one actor who seemed to mumble and rush through lines so it was hard to hear often his part but knowing the play helped. Sometimes it was a little hard to hear overall, but that could be the seats we had. We were initially disappointed to know that Richard Madden was injured and it would have been good to see the original line up ( as my daughter loves the Cinderella film)but Freddie Fox seemed to fill his shoes well.
This an excellent production with Lily Allen exceptional as Juliet. She conveys the vulnerability and innocence of a teenager made to grow up far too quickly. Freddie Fox does a good job but does not quite have the presence to carry off the role of Romeo. Derek Jacobi plays a wisened, if slightly weary, Mercutio. His diction is wonderfully together. Altogether well worth seeing.
Our already high expectations were surpassed by this incredible play! Initially saddened that Richard Madden was not appearing (which was our main draw when booking the tickets), we were mesmerised by Freddie Fox in the role. Such a sensitive performance and a truly magical actor that takes you on a journey with him through the play. Meera Syal also deserves a special mention; bringing the comedy element in was a stroke of genius and worked really well with the tragedy of the play. Incredible... we have already booked to see it again before the play closes in two weeks!
A laughable production.
We enjoyed this production so much when we saw the black and white cinema version we decided to see the stage play for comparison. The play/production remained fantastic. However, there were major issues with the theatre as I am deaf. I use advanced digital aids and had no problem hearing at the cinema. I eventually found I could borrow an IR headset at the "cloakroom", the nice young man switched it on, said he knew nothing about them but that I should be able to use them with my hearing aids. Naturally, no sound came out (confirmed by acute hearing sound engineer husband). Very disappointing.
Despite initial disappointment at the show being cancelled we then saw it on Friday 29th July and were very impressed. Freddie Fox was a fantastic Romeo and Lily James played Juliet very well taking into account the youth if the character. We were lucky enough to move seats so we were closer and more central, row J of the stalls gave a great view of the action. Overall the performance was of a very high standard and thoroughly enjoyable.
A very strong cast. Freddie Fox as Romeo was wonderful considering the late hour of his inclusion. Derek Jacobi brought everything you would expect of him and Lily James' Juliet was a triumph.
Excellent rendition of a well loved play. Acting was spectacular. Would go again.
Loved this adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set in a more modern era but still with Shakespearean language, Cast were superb, standout performances from Derek Jacobi, Lily James and Meera Syal, and Freddie Fox (stand in for the stand in!) excelled. Love the intimacy of the Garrick theatre also.
Brilliant. Freddy was very good and a great match alongside Lilly James. Loved the night club atmosphere of the party, with Juliet singing was a welcome twist. The set and the cast made my evening.
The setting in 1950's Mafia Italy worked beautifully. I loved the black and white movie feel (missed a moped though). I loved the tableau vivant feel to the cast at key moments in the drama. Lily was a breathy Juliet (I'm dying to see a goth Juliet) fully engaging and believable. Freddie almost made Romeo comedic at times. It worked. Friar Lawrence as a young, ambitious priest who thinks he can change the world... inspired. It was the first time I forgave him for his part in the play. I loved the mumbling too... got through those long, unhelpful speeches. Skitzophrenic Capulet, perhaps a bit too dark and light? Lady Capulet looked the part, but didn't convey her nastiness enough for me. My GCSE son loved Mercutio and he has great taste. Too short a curtain call? Really solid performance overall.
An innovative and very enjoyable production of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Lily James sweet and delightful as Juliet, Freddie Fox , taking on the role of Romeo at short notice , was splendid and gorgeous, loved Meera Syal as the nurse and Derek Jacobi as Mercutio. Unmissable
The cast did a brilliant job in particular Lily James and Freddie Fox was an excellent stand in as Romeo.
freddie as outstanding! was a very enjoyable night out and the atmosphere was brilliant! will defo recommend to friends and family... ONLY issue was restricted view that we werent aware of. would not of booked those seats if we realised we couldn't see half of it!!
Fabulous production, wonderful performance by Freddie Fox and Lily James, beautiful music and staging. Loved it!
Very disappointing! Both Lily James and Richard Madden were allegedly 'sick'. Understudies spoke too fast and mumbled. Poetry of the lines completely lost. They did not appear remotely in love! Best actor on the stage Derek Jacobi but hopelessly miscast ! He is not Mercuteo who is young and reckless. Who would duel with a 70 year old? I could not understand anything the Friar said and he is central to the plot. Felt cheated out of £200 !
Travelled from Merseyside especially for show, only to be told at 7.10pm on night of performance that show was cancelled. They had known about this 3 nights prior but no one had informed us. The trip cost in excess of £600. This smacked of total arrogance and disrespect at the expense of ordinary, hardworking people. We had booked tickets in Spring and had been planning the trip well in advance for our 15 year old as a surprise. Appalled and disgusted. No apology or compensation offered, only refund of tickets, which in no shape or form made amends for upset, arrogant disregard and total lack of customer care and attention by NIMAX THEATRES . Incidentally the overall star rating is a big 0..no stars from us. The review doesn't seem to allow me to leave that blank..is that a glitch in the software! Or intentional!
Amazing!! Original production, loved the costumes, lighting and sets. The whole cast was brilliant, Derek Jocobi was sensational! The difference between the two halves was clever, the light touch of much of the first half contrasted perfectly with the poignancy of the second. This owed as much to the superb direction as to Shakespeare's wonderful script. Highly recommended.
Bitterly disappointed that the show got cancelled on the morning of the day of the show
Can hardly put into words how gutted we were to get a call at 4.30pm on the day of the show to say it was cancelled. Couldn't swop to the next day as sold out. Spent a lot of money on hotel, travel & time off work, disappointment doesn't cover it! Finally receive this email asking us to review the show, what can I say!!!
An unfortunate email from you bearing in mind the performance was cancelled. It was my daughter's birthday present. We were all VERY disappointed. We had been looking forward to this for some time!
The play was wonderful. The set up, the atmosphere in the theatre, the sound, the actors and actresses were fascinating and even the staff members of the theatre and stewards were welcoming and nice. As much as I loved it, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. I've watched the play of Romeo and Juliet several times and decided to book this ticket for the additional reason that is to see Richard Madden perform on stage. I'm a big fan of his work so I booked the ticket two months early and I was really looking forward to it but it turned out that Richard wasn't performing yesterday (July 20th, 2016) and there was a replacement actor in his place. He was great and his acting skills were remarkable but I was expecting to see Richard perform this time. There wasn't any kind of notice on the website about that before the day of the show and it was kind of disappointing. I'm an international student in London and I can't afford to buy another ticket but if I could I'd love to see the play again when Richard's performing and that's why I definitely recommend it to everyone. You might have seen this play already but it's definitely worth it to see it again with this performance.
Sound was awful. People around us kept getting up from their seats and moving about . Maybe the weather had something to do with it as it was a particularly hot day . Richard Madden did not appear and that was disappointing . i felt the understudy was not quite up to the task .
I love Shakespeare, when it's done well. On the plus side, Sir Derek Jacobi was a tour de force as always, and Meera Syal was also excellent. Sadly, their ability to communicate the verse, and project properly just highlighted the failures in the other players. Richard Madden did not appear the night we went, so I can't comment on his performance, but the younger cast members were rather disappointing. At the rear of the stalls they were hard to hear, raced through their lines with poor enunciation, and precious little projection. In addition the venue was overly warm. Having seen a production at the Royal Court a few days ago, the contrast in temperature and air conditioning was huge. It's really off putting to try and watch a play whilst you're constantly needing to fan yourself with your ticket to keep cool. We weren't the first people to leave early, I met two ladies in the loo, who left before the interval!
This was my first time seeing a Shakespeare play. I confess I went without having read anything about it apart from who was performing. I saw it as it was presented in front of me with no preconceptions on what to expect. This play was visually modernised without being modern. I had forgotten it was set in the 1950's. It still kept all of the wonder of the original story, language and themes. The performances were all outstanding but especially Derek Jacobi and Lilly James. A little disappointed that Richard Madden was unable to perform.
I loved the production and Derek Jacobi was excellent. Incredibly disappointed that Lily James and Christopher Madden were not performing. The understudy for Juliet was however excellent
Confusing - modern clothes but Shakespearean language; sword fighting but gun fire; all rather strange. Unable to get into the flow of the play. Part 2 better than part 1. Derek Jacobi and Meera Syal were great! Found the play rather disappointing. Shame because I was looking forward to it for weeks!!
Luckily for us, this was not our first experience of Shakespeare and the London Theatres. We are fortunate to live near Stratford-Upon- Avon and the RSC; we bought the tickets especially as a treat for our daughter, who loves Lily James. Not only did we not see her but Richard Madden was also unavailable. My daughter had been very excited at seeing the performance. So although the remaining cast was great; battling a disappointed audience, we remained saddened by the first experience of the West End for our daughter. I wish we had just visited our local cinema, rather than spend a considerable amount of money to see the stars who viewed our experience as insignificant.
No Richard Maddon last night but a wonderful understudy in Tom Hanson! Meera Syal and Derek Jacobi were also excellent. A great evening.
Although Richard madden was unable to play Romeo, the play did not lack in brilliance. Tom Hanson is an amazing actor who truly understands Shakespeare and delivers his lines brilliantly. I must admit, he had no chemistry with Lily James, who played Juliet and for some reason the second half seemed to lack energy and did not live up to the first half. I didn't even cry when Romeo and Juliet died. Derek Jacobi and Meera Syal are pure geniuses. They brought their characters to life and had beautiful chemistry with everyone on stage. Bravo! Lily James played a brilliant Juliet, yet her delivery was rather dull at times. Overall, it was a wonderful experience. So much talent!
Overall performance was good but some characters lacked drive and emotion in their delivery. Sound not very well balanced. Leading man not available due to illness. Replacement did well but the charisma between the two leads was sadly lacking. Jacobi excellent as usual.
Richard madden was indisposed and so understudy Tom Hanson played Romeo. Absolutely no chemistry or emotion between him and Juliet, Lily James. Disappointing performance.
Captivating from beginning to end. Tom as Romeo was charmingly funny.
Derek Jacobi was wonderful
Loved it. I have never been a big fan of Romeo & Juliet but this one was fantastic, a great night out and great cast. The set was also fantastic.
Lily James is superb in this-as is the rest of the cast! So cleverly contemporised without losing any of the original English/feel of the play. Hilarious moments and beautifully choreographed segments. Made me fall in love with both characters and hope for a different ending, which was beautifully done despite the tragedy. Can't recommend highly enough-and such a thrill to see Kenneth Branaugh come out and address the audience!
Great play...poor seats..... The seats said slightly restricted...but it was worse than that!
We bought these tickets a year ago and were really looking forward to seeing Lily James and Richard Madden. Therefore we were really, really disappointed when Madden wasn't there - and was replaced by an understudy. There was no chemistry between Romeo and Juliet whatsoever and we could understand why!!! Lily James was such a good Juliet but that was the only saving grace, oh and Meera Syal who was great as the nurse. After watching Cumberbatch in Hamlet with amazing acting by the whole cast and a magnificent set, yesterday was very disappointing.
The noise of the tube trains under the theatre was a distraction from an average production. The portrayal of Lady Capulet in particular was wooden and reminiscent of a village hall amateur play. Richard Madden was a "no show" so Romeo was covered by Tom Hanson. He was no physical match for an excellent and slim Juliet played by Lily James nor half the actor. Derek Jacobi as Mercutio was witty at times trying to shed many years but failing to be convincing as a contemporary to Romeo. An all but-acceptable version , disappointing as we expected more of a Kenneth Branagh production. I hope the soon to be broadcast performance in July is a vast improvement.
No Richard Madden!! I know it's unavoidable but seemed like we'd drawn the short straw - despite paying £50 per ticket, very restricted view and then no male main man!! The understudy obvs did as best he could but he wasn't very impressive .
Shame that some of the actors were not able to project voices properly - could not hear some of the script, very jumbled and "shouty." Derek Jacobi however was in class of his own. Shame that we allow "well know entertainers" who will bring in bottoms on seats to replace true Shakesperian actors. Understudy for Lilly James good.
Muddled use of swords alongside guns in a modern gangster-lite setting. make your minds up, folks. The older Mercutio worked, unexpectedly. Songs and ditties kept it light in the right places.
I loved this production. The set and lighting are superb, and the decision to set it in 1950/60s Italy makes the plot very credible and the costumes beautiful. Romeo is a little wooden in his delivery but this is my only criticism. Go see it for yourself! Well done Mr Branagh!
Classy performances, classy direction, lots of humour, loved it!
Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0HH
No exchanges or refunds after purchase.
The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company today sadly announced that due to medical advice, Richard Madden will not be returning to the company of Romeo and Juliet before the production completes its run on 13 August. Richard Madden injured his ankle last month whilst running and has been receiving physiotherapy since. However, although Richard is expected to make a full recovery, the injury to Richard’s ankle has not healed as quickly as hoped, and as a result his doctors have prescribed further rest which makes it impossible for him to return to the stage before the production closes.
Freddie Fox will continue to play Romeo, having joined the company last month after off-stage injuries meant that both Richard Madden and his understudy, Tom Hanson, who in addition has played Paris in the production, were unable to perform.
Freddie Fox joined the company on Tuesday 26 July following 48 hours rehearsals. Freddie recently played the role of Romeo at Sheffield Crucible Theatre. His recent theatre work includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Southwark Playhouse and later in the year he will appear in the revival of Tom Stoppard's Travesties at the Menier Chocolate Factory.
Encore cinema screenings of Romeo and Juliet, in which Richard Madden plays Romeo, are now playing in cinemas across the UK and internationally. For more information see www.branaghtheatrelive.com
The full cast includes Marisa Berenson (Lady Capulet), Jack Colgrave Hirst (Benvolio), Tom Hanson (Paris), Matthew Hawksley (Anthony), Derek Jacobi (Mercutio), Lily James (Juliet), Taylor James (Prince), Ansu Kabia (Tybalt), Richard Madden (Romeo), Racheal Ofori (Potpan), Nikki Patel (Balthasar), Chris Porter (Lord Montague), Zoe Rainey (Lady Montague), Michael Rouse (Lord Capulet), Meera Syal (The Nurse), Sam Valentine (Friar Laurence) and Kathryn Wilder (Peta/Apothecary).
Good To Know
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When Can I Go
12 May 2016 – 13 August 2016
Where Do I Go
Garrick Theatre, 2 Charing Cross Road, WC2H 0HH
By Tube- Leicester Square or Charing Cross
By Train- Charing Cross
By Bus-3, 6, 9, 12, 13, 15, 24, 29, 30