Nora Kerin (1883-1970)
"ROMEO AND JULIET."
Produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London - 14th March, 1908
SHAKESPEARE UP TO DATE AT THE LYCEUM THEATRE
A packed house received "Romeo and Juliet," modernised and melodramatised, on Saturday at the Lyceum Theatre with generous and boisterous acclaim. In fact, Shakespeare must be very popular with the masses. There was immense enthusiasm, ever so many "calls," bouquets and ripples of laughter and plaudits all through accompanying Juliet's smiles, or Romeo's attitudes, or the Nurse's jokes, and the many fights, incidents, sensations, and deaths which form part of this immortal tragedy. And nearly the whole time Mr. German's really beautiful incidental music, played to us so that Shakespeare, set to music, proved a very adaptable and presentable thing.
I do not advise Mr. Sidney Lee to go, all the same, or those who hold piously to Shakespeare's text — the thing is young, and admittedly a popular production. Yet, for all that, it was well to see how many seemed to enjoy it; how young and beautiful the wonderful love passages are, how sweet is the poison of inchoate love! The scenery is very good; the whole play is excellently stage-managed; the fights are really thrilling; the crowds are admirable, all the incidentals and appurtenances of realistic illusion are carried out with an honest fire and enthusiasm which cover (as they are no doubt meant to) a multitude of minor and intrinsic sins.
MISS KERIN'S JULIET
"Oh, Juliet—Juliet, wherefore art thou Juliet?" This is, of course, an inversion and a parody; but, seriously, the Juliet of Miss Nora Kerin cannot be taken so. She declaims in the conventional old-fashioned style. She somehow destroys - on the stage - her own personality, and instead of looking the pink of charm and youth (as she is when "taking a call") she manages to conceal both. Many of her lines were badly spoken, falsely intonated and punctuated. She had moments — melodramatic outbursts — but she is not the personality — she has not the witching simplicity of the real Juliet.
Mr. Matheson Lang as Romeo was at times quite admirable. He looks a Romeo; handsome, virile, impetuous, perfervid. His voice is good, he spoke his lines with intelligence and charm. By and by he will improve; put more power, eloquence, freedom into his interpretation; be quieter and (I hope) not always enter and quit the scene on the run. But he gave a fine performance and was greatly appreciated.
Mr. Eric Mayne played with fine brio as Mercutio, and brought off one or two very successful things, notably a realistic death scene. Miss Blanche Stanley played the Nurse up to the full limit of comedy, and "got her laughter right enough," and Mr. Halliwell Hobbes did the same with Tybalt.
One thing remains to be said. The fights are almost Sicilian in their realism. On the whole, Romeo up to date is quite a good thing.
The Daily Mail (London) - 16th March, 1908