Generic Theatre’s production of “Romeo and Juliet” has a lot of potential.
Michael Weitz is a talented director. The cast members are accredited performers. It is written by one of the greatest playwrights of all time. But in its rehearsals, Generic Theatre delivers a lackluster version. With a week of rehearsal left, Generic has a lot of work to make its final production of the year a success.
First, the show is an abridged version of “Romeo and Juliet” – almost half the play has been cut. It opens with a fight scene between members of the Montagues and Capulets, but the fight comes off as a mix between “West Side Story” and a WWF match.
Another problem is several of the key characters overact. Generic’s version of the play is set in modern times, but some of the actors perform as if they were doing the classic rendition.
George Reddick, who plays Romeo, is guilty of overacting. When he’s with his friends such as Benvolio, he gives a good performance. But when he’s with Juliet, Reddick goes into full master-thespian mode. His dominating stage presence damages the chemistry between the two lovers, which is the core of the play.
Mercutio, played by Jason Steinhauer, suffers from the same problem. Too often, Mercutio comes off as a drunken frat pledge. Larrisa Davis does a decent job of playing Juliet, although she lacks stage presence.
Many of the actors give commendable performances. Clark Harding does a wonderful job as Paris, giving the nobleman an oily air that fits the character perfectly. David Lipsett also does well as Lord Capulet, playing the nobleman in a way that’s reminiscent of Paul Sorvino in the film version. Although Yoshi Stone overacts in his role as Friar Lawrence, it works because of the personality of the character. The friar comes off as somewhat crazy and humorous.
Generic’s “Romeo and Juliet” is not a bad rendition of the Shakespeare drama, and Generic deserves credit for taking on a classic. .
“Romeo and Juliet” will be performed Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Dorothy Marvin Betts Theatre. Admission is free.