There is something wrong in London. The trees are still wearing their green summer frocks. Our winter jackets are out and on but only because we mistakenly think that winter is here at last. Late autumnal gloom should have settled on every soul but there are baffled smiles playing on our lips. More perplexing still is that an English film of Romeo and Juliet is playing, no, grinding, in cinemas in London and it is stultifying, tedious, ridiculous, turgid, risible, depressing, boring and painful to watch and hear.
The English are supposed to be good at Shakespeare. They are supposed to be proud of him. So we wonder why Shakespeare's prose and verse has been hacked away and replaced by bland modernisms. Of course artists are free to experiment with Shakespeare, but surely the idea is to bring something new or different when you do. If the result is that the audience begins to suffer from rigour mortise while watching it then something has gone badly wrong. The centre cannot hold......a vacuous male model of a Romeo kept pouting at the audience. He was pale, anaemic and bloodlessly vain. She was podgy and frumpy. On the big night, he kept his underpants on and she her bra and nightie. Their love lacked any heat or passion. It was literary and fey, foppish and tired. Even the soundtrack sounded insincere. We didn't care when Tybalt was stabbed. He was a pantomime baddy. Benvolio had never been in a fight in his life. A bag of flour could have been cast for all the main roles and it would at least have made us laugh.
This production didn't squeeze a single tear out of us or even the glimmer of a smile. Nurse is supposed to make us laugh, She made us wince when she said to Juliet that she '...certainly had good taste in men'
This review is written more in sorrow than in anger, but also by way of public warning : life is short, and none of us knows what may befall us on the morrow. So don't waste your time on this lifeless corpse of a variation on a theme by Shakespeare.
You could, however, spend an enjoyable hour and a half with Woody Allen and his new film ' Blue Jasmine' - deceit, lies and betrayal are all involved, and they wreak their havoc on the lives of all of us, and Woody knows how to remind us of this with characters and a story that make us feel, phew, there but for the grace of God go I.....
We finish by hanging our heads in shame. Estate Agents in London are covertly but blatantly discriminating against Afro-Carribean applicants for rental accommodation. The BBC caught them red handed. Can you imagine how angry you would feel if someone decided to lie to your face just because of the colour of your skin and a stereotype created in the 1950's. Civilisation rests on flimsy foundations, even here, in one of the finest and most civilised cities on earth.
Even in the rain