D4, 10 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch

16/05/2019 - 26/05/2019

Little Andromeda, corner of Gloucester St and Colombo St, Christchurch

19/11/2019 - 20/11/2019

Production Details


“A TWO HOUR Shakespeare play? Ain’t nobody got time for that!” – Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins

We’ve taken a literature classic and turned it on its head.

Written in time where women would not have trod the boards of the stage, we’ve cast our ‘Juliet & Romeo’ with an all female ensemble. Originally performed with 20+ actors, our show features three, count ’em, THREE performers, all desperately trying to keep up with the tyre-screeching speed, the rich and challenging plot lines and the pressure of nailing a gosh darn THEATRE CLASSIC…in exactly 45 minutes.

Join us for Shakespeare as you’ve never seen it before.
TRIGGER WARNING: Performance contains themes of sex, suicide and mild Shakespeare.

D4, 10 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch
16th, 18th, 19th & 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th May 2019

Little Andromeda, Christchurch
19th – 20th Nov 2019
[Recommended for mature audiences only]
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Performers (each actor plays multiple characters but the characters most notably played are:)
Juliet: Isla Frame 
Romeo: Georgie Sivier 
Stage Manager: Anna Heffernan 

Production Crew:
Lighting Design: Georgie Sivier
Costume Design: Isla Frame & Georgie Sivier
Sound Design/Tech: Thomas Klever
Photography: Daniel Alexander 

Theatre ,

45 mins

Unapologetic fun offered with verve and nerve

Review by Lindsay Clark 20th Nov 2019

Were this review to be pared down as uncompromisingly as the Playspace ensemble’s rendering of Juliet and her Romeo, there would be perhaps a couple of sentences and a very brief cast list to mark the inspired mayhem that makes up this production. Directed collaboratively by the trio of female players, the helter skelter traffic of the stage becomes a game played at ravishing speed whereby Shakespeare’s plot line and characters are the challenges to be dealt with.

Two madcap actors, Isla Frame as Juliet and Georgina Sivier as Romeo, in fact play all the roles with the active support of Kate Forrester as Stage Manager. Part of the fun is her status as an emergency ring-in and the time limit she is set to have the play completed. From the beginning then we understand the delightfully daft concept we are about to witness. Famous cues come thick and fast, dealt with nimbly as actors grab a change of costume (thanks, Kate) and try to match up vocally and physically to role after role.

Inevitably some characters come out of this hectic parade more successfully than others, as the challenge to distinguish each and at the same time  keep the plot building coherently generates inevitable tension. Poor Paris and Friar Lawrence are unkindly distorted, it seems, and without the sustaining power of the original’s poetry, our understanding of who is doing what and why is undoubtedly much reduced. In its place, entertaining nonsense in the form of wildly broad, sometimes rude comedy is hatched.

In essence, the play asks us to go along with the gag and such is the verve and nerve of the actors that in general we do. Occasional quiet scenes such as the wedding night for the lovers or their entranced meeting at Capulet’s ball worked less well for me, the switch of pace and intent just not able to develop in the allotted time and circumstances.

For a good laugh and unapologetically irreverent fun, the play has much to offer. It sits very comfortably in the pop-up setting of Little Andromeda, bringing a festival feel to the new complex.


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A clever, energetic production

Review by Erin Harrington 17th May 2019

Juliet and Romeo offers us a rough and ready, turbo-charged supercut of Shakespeare’s beloved teen lovebird tragedy. It’s a pared-back, funny, sometimes profane 45-minute rendition of the play that’s all killer, no filler.  

The all-female cast offer some notable tweaks to the original: Juliet (Isla Frame) has much more of a spine, and Romeo (Georgie Sivier, currently one of my favourite Christchurch creatives) is a bit of a swaggering douchebag. The charismatic pair portray almost everyone else in the play, with characterisations ranging from pointed to buffoonish. They are supported by their agitated stage manager / dresser (Anna Heffernan), who is increasingly frustrated that the show doesn’t seem to be running to time, but who also, maybe, has some theatrical ambitions of her own.

Shakespeare’s script has been sliced down to the bone with great skill, leaving us with the key plot beats and some important moments of character development and interaction, such as the balcony scene and Juliet’s bruising verbal lashing by her father. The most impressive aspect of the show is its fast-paced choreography, in which the players’ lightning swift character jumps are supported by adroit costume changes. The frenetic but thoughtful blocking frequently spills off the spartan stage, which is decorated with graffiti art, and out (and up) into unexpected places. Lights and sound make efficient use of the space’s gig-centric fit out, and while the cues are minimal, I do crack up at a gothic rendition of a well-known Taylor Swift song near the play’s tragic climax.

Unfortunately, some of the text’s poetry and clarity get lost by virtue of the rough acoustics and the speed (and occasional looseness) of delivery, but on the whole it’s pretty coherent. I’d also love to know how well someone who wasn’t familiar with the play made sense of the action.

Juliet and Romeo is a clever, energetic production, and the audience loves it, although I wouldn’t really recommend it to purists. I’m definitely not a purist and I have a great time, but I’m left with a handful of dramaturgical questions: why 45 minutes? What are the stakes if this target isn’t hit? Can the stage manager’s character and motivations be clarified? What choices have informed the adaptation, and why? Who are the players beneath their Shakespearean characters, and does this shape their characterisations? What should we leave with?

This is a really entertaining show, but with a bit of tightening up, and a slightly clearer sense of purpose and control, it would make a terrific, concise and very funny touring fringe piece. 


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