In a back alleyway surrounded by fire escapes, treeless courtyards, and the blare of car
radios, Shakespeare’s ill-starred young lovers enact their ever-popular tragedy. Stylewise, this sexy, fairly straightforward Romeo and Juliet owes as much to West Side Story as it does to Saturday night at the Roxy. Dressed in tight-fitting khakis, ripped tank tops, and platform shoes, director Erica Schmidt’s twentysomething cast fully
exploits the junk-strewn
landscape— with daring entrances from rooftops, noisy collisions with metal gates, and acrobatic maneuvers around a mountain of tires. The production works best when its elements are in wild, ribald motion, less well when the characters must connect to each other with words. Though the choreography has a hypnotic flair, the comedy is somewhat too broadly played, leaving little room for the story’s building pathos. In the end, scenic urban thrills try to substitute for good old-fashioned pity and fear.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 1999