‘Mercutio’ at the 505- A WINNER! written by Giles Gartrell-Miles

I have not written about a play for several weeks, largely because there has been a plethora of worthy but not very entertaining pieces in the independent scene. This brand new World Premier play is an antidote to that, not because the play, Mercutio and the Prince of Cats is without depth, but it is wildly creative and entertaining and beautifully realised at the lovely 505 performance space. Giles isa well known actor- London trained but performing in Sydney for some years. This is his first full length play.

It is an unusual take on the rivalry and hatred between Romeo’s dear friend Mercutio and Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. It takes them to an afterlife where they have the opportunity, with the help of Friar Lawrence’s apothecary skills, to overcome this legendary, almost religious animosity and deserve a place in heaven.

The writing is beautiful, eloquent humorous and approachable. The plot moves effortlessly and forms a natural arc which is hard to achieve on stage. The two titular characters are given back stories which are absolutely captivating.. in fact, I wanted to learn more about their childhoods. This is also because the two actors, Abe Mitchell, and Jack Angwin are wonderful and charismatic in their roles, which call for alot of movement and action.

As the play evolves we see that Juliet is presumed to be dead and her nurse is in disgrace. She has been sent to help the Friar and administer the potions to the two men in an attempt to redeem their souls. This part is played by the lovely Amanda Macgregor whom I have seen many times on stage- including a lovely performance in Cyprus Avenue. She is delightful, convincing and very funny.

Friar Lawrence is played by Dannielle King who is radiant as the Friar. I have admired her work for a few years now, and this part suits her superbly. Her beautiful voice is captured with some lovely poetic writing and her performance was reminiscent of Judi Dench in her younger days.

Full credit must be given to Bishania Vincent, whose lovely acting work I have reviewed several times. This is her first outing as director and she ensures that the words and movement work synergistically to produce the most scintillating effect. She has done such a good job it is hard to believe that she has not been directing for years!

The set, lighting and music are all top notch. This play is an exhilarating experience and should not be missed!