ROMEO & JULIA THE MUSICAL – BERLIN
REVIEW ROMEO & JULIA: SHARPLY CUT, WELL CRAFTED BERLIN MUSICAL ROCKS SHAKESPEARE
The German musical version of Romeo & Juliet at Berlin’s musical hotspot Theater des Westens surprises with an impressive large-scale set design and a cast with so much talent and young energy that you can’t help but surrender. A well-crafted, spectacularly staged rock musical that brings power and infectious heavy beats to Shakespeare’s classic tale of impossible love.
Subtitled Liebe ist alles, German composers Peter Plate and Ulf Leo Sommer have transformed Shakespeare’s Verona tearjerker into a sharply cut, consistently entertaining show that is carried all the way home by effective musical rock, great singers and energetic ensemble playing.
The show is a visual achievement, with a well-executed costume concept that mixes Italian Renaissance fashions with updated street fashion and military boots.
The plot is executed fairly faithful to the original, spiced up with beautifully choreographed dance and fight scenes, led by a super talented and elementally moving Yasmina Hempel in the female title role. Stand-in Edwin Parzefall did a fine job as Romeo in this Saturday matinee, which played to a full house after rave reviews in the Berlin press.
Creators Peter Plate and Ulf Leo Sommer are considered to be Germany’s most successful composing duo.
Recently, they also celebrated great success in Berlin with the musical version of Ku’damm 56, which many may recognize from the popular and rather charming TV series – a sort of Grease meets 50s/60s West Berlin.
The series is good, light entertainment in the style of Badehotellet and Dansegarderoben and can still be streamed on DR, where the Danish title is ‘Pigerne fra Berlin’.
Romeo & Juliet in this well-oiled production from the entertainment giant Stage Entertainment is good musical craftsmanship with professional drive and an ending that is as sad as it can be.
Still, it’s not without hope, as Romeo and Juliet’s senseless deaths may help to settle the hatred between their families and paint a brighter picture of the future, after all.
When the ensemble is unleashed in a huge dance finale, the audience is on its feet and singing along to Liebe’s Alles in a charitable sing-along that spreads love in the rows and redeems everything before the audience is sent off into the spring with a good theater experience in their luggage. The musical genre is going from strength to strength in Berlin.
Despite the lack of English subtitles, we acknowledge with four stars from GOT TO SEE THIS. Enjoy the show.
BERLIN TIPS RIGHT NOW
Don’t miss Austrian/German multi-artist Yadegar Asisi’s fabulous 360-degree Pergamon Panorama, which brings the ancient metropolis to life in a gigantic rotunda on Museum Island, a mammoth work that you view from a 10-15 meters high stair tower as sound and image spin around you in a completely immersive 1:1 sense of being there.
Another good art tip is the Neue Nationalgallerie in Mies Van Der Rohe’s beautiful signature building near Potsdamer Platz. The current exhibition includes Gerhardt Richter and a number of sharp works from the Babylonian Weimar Germany of the 1920s and 30s.
After theater time, as always, Borchardt’s in Mitte is open until past midnight, serving oysters, bubbles and, right now, the delicious white asparagus, with a bustling incrowd ambience of VIPs and wannabes.