“Full of light, colour, movement and music, Ben Power’s cut-down National theatre version of the tale of star-crossed lovers adds to a growing trend in taking Shakespeare for children and family audiences more seriously than before. If the show is good enough to tour schools, the logic runs, then it is good enough to play in one of the National theatre’s auditoriums. Becs Andrews’s simple square design of four climbable poles, covered by netting and fairy lights, hints at an outdoor basketball court; it fits snugly in the National’s versatile temporary space, the Shed.
With the be-hatted and largely black Montagues in combat with the brightly plumed and mostly Asian Capulets, it’s easy to work out where each character’s loyalties lie. Director Bijan Sheibani neatly sidesteps the yuck factor that kissing tends to have for primary-age children by turning love into one big, participatory party. Glitter falls from the skies, balloons bob and the audience even gets a chance to dance” Lyn Gardner