You Should’ve Seen “Romeo, You Idiot,” You Idiot

This weekend, I was looking for something new to do on campus. Seeking to support a fellow student group and friends of mine, I went to see Romeo, You Idiot, a modern version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Following up on the success of last year’s shows Hamlet II and Twelfth Night, this version of Romeo and Juliet had a lot to live up to. And it certainly lived up to the hype.

Written by Tim Rochenderfer and directed by Rabiah Rowther and Taylor Strait, Romeo, You Idiot pokes fun at the tragedy of Shakespeare’s love story. Romeo, played by a hilarious freshman newcomer Rebecca Owen, shines as the example of insufferable teen angst. Owen takes the stereotype of “frat/teen boy” and reinvents it so it stays fresh and funny. Often, Owen’s acting when no one was looking was hysterical—just the reaction to other characters was priceless.

Photo Credit: Rabiah Rowther & Taylor Strait

In particular, Owen and Ezgi Toper, who played Juliet, had amazing chemistry. Their banter worked really well as an overly dramatic teenage couple. No spoilers, but their ending scenes together encompass the hilarious fickleness of teenage relationships. You can’t help but laugh as Romeo and Juliet reach the end of their love story—quite a departure from the tragedy Shakespeare penned.

Aside from the two main characters, the family rivalry stole the show. I personally loved the theme of female empowerment among the rivalries—instead of the fathers being the reason for the feud, the powerful matriarchs ran the show. It gave a whole new meaning to badass—shout out to Claire Doire and Nadia Leinhos for giving such fierce performances as Lady Capulet and Lady Montague, respectively. And another shout out to their right-hand men, Matthew Snyder and Shubhankar Arun for being the comically passive husbands doing their wives’ bidding.

Photo Credit: Rabiah Rowther & Taylor Strait

However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the scene-stealers of the show: the “bro trio” of Romeo, Benvolio, and Mercutio. Though I already touched on Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio brought a whole new meaning to the word of “bro”. I have to say, Erin Sandy, the actress who played Mercutio, actually kept me in stitches any time they arrived on stage. The whole crowd actually may have died with laughter during the scene of Romeo in the tomb with Juliet, where Mercutio just eats chips while looking on.

Benvolio, played by Lucina Hawkins, perfectly encompassed the role of sensical advice-giver—whose advice is (sorely) never listened to. Hawkins was able to explore an added comedic layer to the role of Benvolio by portraying a sordid love affair between their character and Tybalt (played by Liam McParland). Tybalt and Benvolio’s love affair is honestly one of the funniest aspects of Romeo, You Idiot. It was also a great moment for LGBT representation—especially when Mercutio says, "I want to tell Benvolio I love and support him, bro.” A+ for Mercutio, you go Mercutio.

Aside from the Bro Trio, this play contained tons of laughs from every single cast member. The wittiness of the script and the comedic timing left me incredibly happy to have seen Romeo, You Idiot. Not to mention, the entire party scene at the Capulet’s house. Don’t think I’ll ever see anything more relatable than Mercutio (Sandy) drinking out of a Bacardi bottle with a bagel around it. Classic.

Be sure to check out the rest of Boston University’s Shakespeare Society’s work!

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