The Two Gentlemen of Verona presented by Roaring Voices at Teatru Salesjan gave an immersive rendition of Shakespeare’s first play and cleverly re-imagined in the 1950s era. In this play presenting the themes of love, social class, and betrayal many elements worth noticing stood out.
Polly March, the director of the show, evidently laid a very strong foundation for these young actors to bring this play to life. Markedly giving a lot of attention to detail, it is clear that the entire text was carefully deconstructed therefore giving new life to a classic through a natural delivery. This produced clarity of storytelling and detailed characterisation. We commend the fact that the director brought the characters physically off the stage and closer to the audience, creating a more intimate space where the story could be told. We appreciate the effective use of space, dynamic yet precise and organised movement, costumes and use of props. All this was very well paired with prudently thought out lighting and musical pieces which elegantly transported us to the 1950s and helped to push the narrative, keeping us engaged throughout. Thus, the strength of this production also shows in its smallest details. This could not have come to fruition without the work of the entire professional crew.
The Roaring Voices cast indisputably worked as a unified system, giving their utmost throughout and feeding off each other’s energy, therefore, playing to each other’s strengths. Elle Borg (Julia/Sebastian) professionally immersed herself into the leading role embracing all the multidimensional facets of the character. Gabriel Farrugia (Proteus) excellently executed his challenging role both through his voice and through his actions. His strong stage presence captivated the audience through the whirlwind of emotions experienced by the character. We would also like to commend Kyra Lautier (Lucetta) for her comfort with the text, displayed through her diction and apt tone which brought a relatively minor character to the spotlight. Mark Ciantar (Launce) exhibited effective comic timing bringing the very much needed comic relief amongst tense scenes.
It is fitting that the first performance for the Roaring Voices Company portrayed Shakespeare’s first play thereby giving rise to a new age of local Shakespearean drama. The themes highlighted in The Two Gentlemen of Verona are still somewhat relevant to today’s day and age. The complexities of friendship and love, alongside gender inequalities, are surely still felt at present, especially by youths. Thus, this allows these young, upcoming actors to relate to the text on various levels.
This performance initiated a trajectory to fulfill Roaring Voices’ main aim, that of ensuring that Shakespeare’s work lives on and remains relevant. Following the success of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, we look forward to the company’s future productions.