Romeo and Juliet.

Beck Center's production of Shakespeare's classic appears to have been impaled between Renaissance daintiness and a postmodern Miami free-for-all. In this version, made "accessible and relevant to contemporary audiences," Juliet and her family are Nubians residing in old Verona, while Romeo and the Montagues seem to have emerged from a Pre-Raphaelite paint-by-numbers kit. With an ill-assorted match of styles and attitudes, there is much foolishness here, but very little verve. Director Shelley Butler may have been admirably trying to promote the cause of universal tolerance, but she has been sabotaged by an aura of kitsch and a dearth of imagination. If, perchance, you skipped high school English, missed all the film versions, and never snapped your fingers to Bernstein's syncopated gangs, there is a chance -- but a very slight one -- that you will find this Romeo and Juliet captivating. Through November 14. Reviewed November 4.


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