Sun | Jul 15, 2018

Romeo and Juliet at Cineplex on Sunday

Published:Friday | August 26, 2016 | 12:00 AM

The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company's new presentation of Shakespeare's heartbreaking tale of forbidden love, Romeo and Juliet, will play this Sunday, August 28, at Palace Cineplex, at 11:30 a.m.

Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden (also of Game of Thrones) as Romeo; Lily James (also of Downton Abbey) as Juliet; and Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio.

Romeo and Juliet is one of William Shakespeare's most popular and frequently performed plays. Shakespeare wrote the tragedy early in his career and the plot is said to have been heavily inspired by an Italian tale translated into verse as The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet by Arthur Brooke in 1562. It was retold in prose in Palace of Pleasure by William Painter in 1567. However, Shakespeare made the work his own by expanding the plot and developing a number of supporting characters.


Young lover


The jury is still out on whether the events leading to the couple's demise take place by chance or the characters are truly fated to die together. Arguments in favour of fate often refer to the description of the young lovers as "star-cross'd".

In Romeo and Juliet, another brawl breaks out in the streets of Verona between servants of the feuding noble families of Capulet and Montague. Benvolio, a Montague, tries to stop the fighting, but is himself embroiled when the rash Capulet, Tybal, arrives on the scene.

Prince Escalus, the ruler of Verona, attempts to prevent any further conflict between the families by decreeing death for any individual who disturbs the peace in the future.

Romeo, the son of Montague, runs into his cousin Benvolio, who had earlier seen Romeo moping. Romeo confides that he is in love with Rosaline, a woman who does not return his affections. Benvolio counsels him to forget this woman and find another, more beautiful, one, but Romeo remains despondent.

Meanwhile Paris, a kinsman of the Prince, seeks Juliet's hand in marriage. Her father Capulet, though happy at the match, asks Paris to wait two years since Juliet is not yet 14 years old. Capulet dispatches a servant with a list of people to invite to a masquerade and feast he traditionally holds. He invites Paris to the feast, hoping that Paris will begin to win Juliet's heart.

Romeo and Benvolio, still discussing Rosaline, encounter the Capulet servant bearing the list of invitations. Benvolio suggests that they attend, since that will allow Romeo to compare his beloved to other beautiful women of Verona. Romeo agrees to go with Benvolio to the feast, but only because Rosaline, whose name he reads on the list, will be there.

In Capulet's household young Juliet talks with her mother, Lady Capulet, and her nurse about the possibility of marrying Paris. Juliet has not yet considered marriage, but agrees to look at Paris during the feast to see if she thinks she could fall in love with him.


Falls in love


The feast begins. A melancholy Romeo follows Benvolio and their witty friend Mercutio to Capulet's house. Romeo sees Juliet from a distance and instantly falls in love with her, forgetting about Rosaline completely. As an entranced Romeo watches Juliet, Tybalt, recognises him and is enraged that a Montague would sneak into a Capulet feast. He prepares to attack, but Capulet holds him back.

Soon Romeo speaks to Juliet and the two experience a profound attraction.

They kiss, not even knowing each other's names. When he finds out from Juliet's nurse that she is the daughter of Capulet - his family's enemy - he becomes distraught. When Juliet learns that the young man she has just kissed is the son of Montague, she is equally upset.

The Branagh Theatre Company was launched recently in London's West End. The company's year-long play season at the beautifully restored Garrick Theatre is showcasing three new productions, captured live and made available to cinemas worldwide.

The Winter's Tale opened the season, Romeo and Juliet is the second production to encore on local screens and The Entertainer plays on November 27.

Palace Amusement Company is pleased to present this new addition to its alternative content programming. Tickets are on sale at the box office and via the web at with a Palace Card or any major credit card.