I was surprised to discover that there is a fringe festival in Catford. I went along to see BOXLIT theatre hoping for a vibrant experience, but the venue was less than welcoming, and let the company down, I feel. Twenty minutes before the show was due to start, the theatre doors were still locked. Eventually, with ten minutes to spare, I was let in, and when I say “I”, I mean exactly that. I suppose on a Wednesday afternoon in Catford a small audience is to be expected, but it must have been very disappointing for the cast to have an audience of three (including the director and a member of the front-of-house team).
BUT- they acted their socks off.
The two actors took on a major Shakespearean tragedy and made it their own.
The set was stark, minimalist, modern. It was black and white. White fluorescent tubing, white draperies, the two main characters costumed in white. Minor characters in black. The only colour crept in via the excellent use of film.
Chloe Levis was a wonderful Juliet, and also took on the role of Friar Laurence. Seb Christophers made a good job of Romeo and in his gender swap, played the Nurse. Between them, the two actors portrayed Mercutio, Tybalt, Paris et al, with the action including a very clever solo fight scene.
This one-hour show pared the play down to its essentials, but kept the language. Despite the necessary million or so costume changes, there was no feeling of interruption of disconnection, thanks to the very clever use of film, music and audio-visual effects. I give credit for the smoothness of the production to Andrew Livingstone, for some very tight direction.
The company are taking the production to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. I hope they get the publicity and audiences they deserve, and I am very glad that I got to see them.