‘Romeo and Juliet' brought to life with touch of comedy

A maiden atop a balcony, an enamored gentleman below, and a love story for the ages — this can only be the time-honored classic “Romeo and Juliet.” A talented cast and crew at Phoenixville Area High School brought this iconic tragedy to life with a touch of comedy.

From the quill of the world’s most legendary bard, William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” has transcended the eras since its 16th-century creation. In verdant Verona, while the Montagues and Capulets are embroiled in an entrenched feud, their ill-fated children fall hopelessly in love. The twisting tale follows the two young paramours as their families’ squabbles doom them to secret love and passionate death.

Capturing the intricacy and beauty of the original verses, the entire cast impressively navigated the formidable terrain of Shakespearian language, the actors infused the production with moments of humor, a feat that improved the occasional lag in pace and lightened the melancholy mood. To boot, pugnacious characters skillfully engaged in sword-to-sword combat.

In the titular roles, Andrew Ball and Abby Gould twinkled as star-crossed lovers. With commendable control of lines, Ball anchored the play as Romeo. Opposite him as the ingénue Juliet, Gould conveyed convincing sentiments that ran the emotional gamut from adoration to anguish. The pair’s sweet chemistry was rife with tension and devotion.

Supporting roles brought a welcome blast of energy to Verona. Two comedic standouts were Ashley Spina and Jack Beran. With a theatrical voice and spot-on timing, Spina kept the audience in stitches in the role of Juliet’s feisty nurse. She splendidly overcame the challenge of only recently stepping into the part. Beran delighted as Romeo’s pal Mercutio with adroit physical comedy and engaging bravado. Also noteworthy were Joseph Casiano (Friar Lawrence), whose spirited performance perfectly personified an aged priest, and David D’Ardenne (Count Paris), whose playful exuberance magnified his stage presence.

From behind the scenes, Jon Gibson’s mood-enhancing lighting effectively showcased the action in the quaint Italian hamlet. While gentle tunes emanated from a musical trio, the gifted stage crew handily rotated immense scenery.

Vividly recreating Shakespeare’s bawdy world of sweethearts, foes, and everyone in between, Phoenixville Area High School’s moving production of “Romeo and Juliet” showed the inexorable power of true love to reach beyond the grave and melt age-old strife. The cast and crew put on a memorable production so enjoyable that “parting is such sweet sorrow” for the audience.

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