Performing Arts: Theater
November 18, 2013
Upon arriving at “R+J: Star-Cross’d Death Match,” you are immediately given either a red (Capulet) or blue (Montague) Solo cup. Next you are instructed to join your group on one side of the tape line in the middle of the room at Quinn’s Bar & Grill. But first (and this is really important), you get yourself a beer because you will be learning/ practicing the drinking game of “Flip Cup.”

When it comes to Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy of young passion as presented by Three Day Hangover, Flip Cup is invested with life and death stakes. And the evening’s just beginning! Before the action rolls, the audience is encouraged to cheer, chant, and move with the characters around the room as Romeo once again meets Juliet, they fall in love, and fate leads them to their tragic end.

Highlights of the evening include:

• A rap battle between Mercutio and Romeo

• A balcony scene that has Romeo in the street stopping traffic

• Audience and cast serenading Romeo and Juliet in bed

• Audience members playing Flip Cup over the honor of slain characters (a successful flip offers the reward of a Captain Morgan’s shot; failure is the shameful shot of milk)

The most surprising part of the evening is the cast’s dexterity with the language. The language is clear and understandable. Moreover, they refuse to treat it preciously, peppering in modern asides and references. The result is a quicksilver performance that has the audience laughing hard one minute only to be moved to tears the next. Alcohol may fuel the audience, but talent fuels this show.

Between the very able and smart adaptation by Ben Charles, the ingenious use of space and staging by director Lori Wolter Hudson, and the impressive work by the acting ensemble, especially Suzy Jane Hunt, Nick Mills, and Jenna Panther, you’re in for a good time. “R+J” is quite simply an inventive, fun, and delightfully well done evening of theatre. And for $10, it is the best ticket in town.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Kelly Johnston

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