Caricature and Flannos in Bogan Shakespeare Presents: Romeo & Juliet

3.5 stars

Shakespeare was renowned for being on the cutting edge of the language and cultural touchstones of his time. This bogan version of Romeo and Juliet  manages the same.

Bogan Shakespeare’s adaptation of the classic tragedy focuses on the universality of teenagers so horny they do irredeemably stupid things.

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

While paring the play back to the main storyline, this production manages to explore distinctly Western Australian themes including beer, extreme AFL fandom, and the class divides caused by FIFO wages.

Funny from start to finish, this adaptation emphasises the absurdity of such a short lived, love-at-first-sight romance.

The often flowery ‘ye olde English’ of the original has been replaced with a more modern slang riddled iambic pentameter.

An evolved narrative, employing clever adjustments to the original plot, accommodates the drastic relocation of the action from Elizabethan Verona to modern day Ellenbrook. The characters are fully reimagined as the trashiest of bogans.

While the cast embrace their portrayals, they do at times border on caricature. Those moments of overacting do, sadly, pull us out of the scene.

Sarah Courtis’ acting was a highlight, her use of facial expressions in response to other characters were spectacularly emotive. Her Juliet captured the heady mix of angst, insecurity and impatience of teenaged girlhood incredibly, making her portrayal highly relatable.

Much like Shakespeare’s own Globe Theatre, the small room was fully lit with minimal staging. So minimal in fact there was nothing other than a black screen adorning the stage, from behind which the cast could appear. The players made full use of the space, with fights and conversations extending into the audience.

The costumes, including the requisite flannos, guernseys, thongs, and other specifically Australian clothes offered spectacular visual gags.

Although at times a little clumsily acted, this show delivers as a fun satire that embraces its trashy nature.

Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.