Cranleigh pupils give Shakespeare classic a modern twist

The pupils performed Shakespeare with a twist
The pupils performed Shakespeare with a twist

Pupils at a Cranleigh school joined together to perform a Shakespeare treat in Leatherhead.

Leatherhead Theatre was transformed into a playground battleground as year eight pupils from Cranleigh Prep performed their Shakespeare short, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to an appreciative audience on Friday November 2.

The pupils took part in the annual Shakespeare Schools’ Festival, an event which continues to challenge and excite both staff and pupils.

This year, one of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays was given a modern twist with the Capulets and Montagues cast as rival gangs from neighbouring schools.

Teenage angst was realistically portrayed as verbal and physical insults were thrown across the stage.

The clever use of narration saw Nicola O and Sophie P.T cast as characters reflecting on past events.

They guided the audience through the multiple twists and turns of events and helped them to witness the plot unfold and love turn to tragedy.

Juliet was played by Millie J who fell in love with Romeo, a dashing Liam R, when he gatecrashed a Capulet party with his great friend Benvolio, played by Freddie P.

A highlight of the performance was the contemporary re-imagining of the balcony scene, with the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet placed on opposite sides of the stage using their mobile phones to text each other the famous lines.

A secretly arranged marriage conducted by the Friar, Rory G, sealed their love.

The course of true love never did run smooth and Juliet’s parents, Hamish R and Anna H, have planned a marriage to the Capulet, a handsome Paris, played by Sterling S, and they refused to take no for an answer.

Meanwhile, the fierce hatred between rival gangs leads to a spree of attacks as the Capulet, Tybalt, played by Logan B, and the Montagues, Mercutio (Toby D), Benvolio (Freddie P) and Romeo fight with deadly consequences.

Ultimately, the murders kickstart a sequence of events which ensure that Shakespeare is correct and ‘these violent delights have violent ends’.

The story unfolds, as events conspire against Romeo and Juliet, leading to their untimely deaths in the sanctuary of the church.

The line, ‘for never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo,’ is the final reminder of the tragic events which the prep school pupils brought to life with such originality and flair.

The school thanked all those who worked hard to bring the play to the stage.

They thanked Mr Waller and Mrs Awwad for their direction; Mr Dixon for the original music score and technical support, ably attended by Sabin D and Jacob W, and Mrs Everett for the costumes.

Their efforts ensured another group of students had the wonderful opportunity to experience the stories of William Shakespeare whose characters and plots continue to inspire 400 years after his death.