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Romeo and Juliet at Limelight Theatre

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Immortal love story for theatre’s Shakespeare debut
Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Callum O'Mara and Lauren Thomas play the title roles in Romeo and Juliet. Picture: Peter Clark


Two star-crossed lovers come together despite constant opposition from their warring families in Limelight Theatre's latest production, described as "the greatest love story ever told".

Directed by Peter Clark, Romeo and Juliet was first performed 424 years ago and is one of the most popular Shakespeare plays performed today – but it's the first time Shakespeare has been performed at Limelight Theatre in its 45-year history. Street brawls, a masquerade, hope and the best laid schemes of the well-intentioned lead to an inevitable and tragic conclusion in the immortal love story.

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Star-crossed lovers Romeo (Callum O'Mara) and Juliet (Lauren Thomas). Picture: Peter Clark


Peter said he had gone for a contemporary take on the Shakespeare classic. "This is to ensure the production is easily accessible for the audience – for both first-time Shakespeareans and the experienced – so they have the ability to relate and feel for the characters as the story unfolds," he said.

"Our production designer has designed and produced a wonderful set and staging for the show. The overall look and feel of the production is also assisted with very specific lighting effects, music, film and costume.

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Romeo and Juliet's warring families: Lord and Lady Montague (David Nelson, left, and Julie Clark) and Lady and Lord Capulet (Nikki Di Camillo and Mark Fitzpatrick). Picture: Peter Clark

"I was trained to believe that Shakespeare was written for all and should never be perceived as boring or dated – my approach to this production provides all the necessary ingredients to ensure it is not. It's a two-hour production that packs a punch without losing the core integrity of the script and central themes around love."

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Director Peter Clark, centre, with Callum O'Mara and Lauren Thomas as Romeo and Juliet.


Before coming to Perth in 2000, Peter trained as an actor in London and worked for several theatre companies, including one season with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Over the past 17 years, he has performed and directed shows with the Blue Room Theatre, Graduate Dramatic Society, Rechabites Hall, The Bakery, Playlovers and Class Act, Old Mill, Garrick, KADS, Stirling, Limelight, Melville and Marloo Theatres, as well as his own company Lawson Productions.

In 2013, Peter received gongs for best director and musical at the annual Finley Awards for his production of The Producers, adding to numerous other best actor and director awards. "I have performed in Romeo and Juliet professionally in the UK as both Romeo and Benvolio and, even though I've directed a handful of Shakespeare productions over the past 15 years, Romeo and Juliet remained untouched!" he said.

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Juliet (Lauren Thomas, left) is confronted by her parents Lord and Lady Capulet (Mark Fitzpatrick and Nikki Di Camillo). Picture: Peter Clark

"I was keen to direct a show at Limelight Theatre and when I found out they have never performed a Shakespeare production in the 45 years since they were established, the stars aligned. As per previous Shakespeare productions I have directed, time is often the challenge.

"With a standard play, you would allocate a traditional rehearsal period, block the movement, fine tune the show, work on the technical requirements and perform the show. But with Shakespeare you have to spend a lot of time ensuring the actors understand what they're saying, how to say it and guarantee the delivery results in a comprehensive and enjoyable experience for the audience."

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
Romeo and Juliet features Callum O'Mara, left, Jared Herft and Josh Flaherty as Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio. Picture: Peter Clark


Josh Flaherty plays Benvolio, part of the Monatgue family and one of Romeo's best friends. "He's the middle man between Mercutio and Romeo, constantly having to be peacekeeper between the feuding families," he said.

"Even though Benvolio is quite calm and rational thinking, he also has a playful and fun side to him. I've never done Shakespeare before so I've been faced with the challenge of understanding and learning what all the characters are saying. There's also the challenge of living up to everyone's expectation of Benvolio's character because the show is so well-known."

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
The Nurse (Leisha Fox) in Romeo and Juliet with Romeo (Callum O'Mara, left), Mercutio (Jared Herft) and Benvolio (Josh Flaherty). Picture: Peter Clark


First stepping up to the stage last year, Josh has performed with Garrick, Roleystone and Limelight Theatres in Cinderella: A Fairytale, Robin Hood: The Truth Behind The Green Tights and Caught in the Net. "I wanted be a part of Romeo and Juliet because it's a story I've always loved," he said.

"The messages of the story are still relevant today and everyone that watches the show will be able to take that with them. To be able to learn from, and be guided by, director Peter Clark was something that also made we want to be part of the show."

Romeo and Juliet plays at 8pm September 27, 28, 29, October 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 and 13 with a 2pm matinee October 7. Tickets are $21, $18 concession – book at www.limelighttheatre.com.au or on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday. Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare, Limelight Theatre, play, performing arts, stage, Mercutio, Capulet, Montague, Benvolio
What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other word would smell as sweet. Romeo and Juliet comes to Limelight Theatre this September and October.

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Why? One of the countless reasons Romeo and Juliet is still so popular is because of the play’s use of relatable universal themes, still relevant today – especially how love and hate can drive people to do outrageous things.
When: 8pm September 27, 28, 29, October 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12 & 13; 2pm October 7
Phone: 0499 954 016
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $21, $18 concession
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