With Lost Dog’s blend of dance, theatre and comedy, this duet reveals the real story of Romeo and Juliet. It turns out they didn’t die in a tragic misunderstanding, they grew up and lived happily ever after. Well, they lived at least. Now they are 40ish. They feel constantly mocked by their teenage selves and haunted by the pressures of being the poster couple for romantic love. Directed by award-winning Ben Duke, Juliet & Romeo tackles our cultural obsession with youth and our inevitable issues with longevity. Ben spoke with The Fountain in more depth about the show.
TF: Is this your first time to Edinburgh? If not, tell us more
No. I first went to the Edinburgh festival as a performer aged 16. It was with a band made up of a group of school friends. In my memory we were brilliant and I hope there is no video or audio record to contradict that memory. We performed at Buster Brown’s nightclub down by the railway station – It’s not there anymore unfortunately. It was a dive in the best sense of the word. I fell for the city and the festival.
TF: What’s the biggest thing to have happened to you since Festivals ’18?
I haven’t been to the festival since 2015 when I was performing Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me) at Summerhall. Since then many big things have happened to me. Most notably performing Juliet & Romeo at the Linbury theatre in the Royal Opera House, and the return of our family tortoise who disappeared for ten months and then reappeared on our back doorstep. It’s possible she was under the doorstep all along but I prefer to think she was on a long and slow adventure and then felt homesick and decided to make her way back.
TF: Tell us about your show; who wrote it; who’s producing it; how did the company come together; did this production premier before Edinburgh; where are you taking it after?
The show is called Juliet & Romeo and is a reimagining of the story made famous by Shakespeare. In this show Juliet & Romeo didn’t die in a teenage double suicide but survived and are now approaching middle age and are struggling in their marriage. The piece was produced by Lost Dog, which is the company I have run for the last twelve years. It was devised by myself and Solene Weinachter. It premiered at Battersea Arts Centre and then The Place – both of which co-commissioned the work – in February 2018 – on Valentine’s Day. And we have toured the show on and off since then to theatres and rural venues. After Edinburgh we will be touring the work in Autumn 2019 and then again in Spring 2020 and hopefully beyond.
TF: What should your audience see at the festivals after they’ve seen your show?
Jo Blake Cave’s Blodeuwedd Untold at the Pleasance, BMT’s Bromance at Assembly Rooms and Amy Bell’s the Forecast at Dance Base.
You can see Juliet and Romeo at Dance Base, Studio 3, from 21st – 25th August at 12:45. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/