Review: Romeo and Juliet by Cyclone Rep Theatre Company

Cyclone Rep Theatre Company

Helix Theater, Dublin
Reviewed by: Kaitlyn Culliton

In this rendition of Romeo and Juliet, a group of contemporary actors scrambles to put together a rehearsal of the play in a theater haunted by the ghost of Shakespeare, who agrees to act as a director. The frame story allows for a dynamic Shakespeare-lecture experience combining live theater, music, power point, discussion, audience participation, and a packet of notes available to students after the performance. The result is a completely non-conventional pedagogical approach that, while not catering to Shakespeare traditionalists, manages to engage the secondary school audience in the text of one of the plays on the Junior Certificate in a comprehensive educational experience.

The critical scenes of the play are performed by a four-member cast (exclusive of the voice of Shakespeare that interrupts to offer insights throughout the performance) and glossed by audience-inclusive discussions on the plot. Romeo and Juliet (Cian Kinahan and Marie O’Donovan) have great onstage chemistry, playing both the star-crossed lovers, and amateur actors developing a crush-made-awkward by the romantic contexts of the performance. They complete each other’s sentences, using this trope in burgeoning relationships to co-author student essay suggestions: one making an observation of the play and the other providing textual evidence. With Luke Barry and Martin Condon, offering counterarguments and unique interpretations of other characters, the diligent student will walk away with a few well-supported test answers.

If the actors do well to balance their roles as performers and educators, it is not due to the assistance of a compliant audience. Perhaps a decent contemporary mimic of Shakespeare’s groundlings, the easily-distracted, energetic, and boisterous crowd is kept engaged with bawdy humor, fast-paced scenes, and a balanced approach to comedy and tragedy. The crowning achievement of the performers is managing to wrangle the attentions of a full house; they earn enthusiastic screams of approval and a standing ovation that rivaled the cheers of sporting event spectators for the Act 2 Scene 2 balcony scene by having a male audience member in costume deliver Juliet’s lines—it’s a rare reaction to early modern drama. While the light-hearted version of the play does cause audience giggles at Juliet’s death, limiting the full implications of the sometimes harrowing fruition of the lovers’ final destinies, the performance purposefully rejoices in reading Shakespeare as an accessible part of popular culture. It successfully calls to question the manner in which teachers can reach new generations of scholars, making Shakespeare not simply tolerable, but an enjoyable part of canonical curriculums.

Elsinore Conference 2016: Shakespeare — The Next 400 Years, 22-24 April 2016, Kronborg Castle, Helsingør (Denmark)


Dr. Ema Vyroubalova of Trinity College Dublin is one of the organizers of this international interdisciplinary conference on the legacy and future of William Shakespeare’s work, which will take place on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death at the very castle where Shakespeare had set his Hamlet. A variety of panels and workshops are on offer, catering both to scholars and theatre practitioners. Keynote speakers include Prof. Alexa Huang (George Washington University), Prof. Judith Buchanan (University of York), Prof. Richard Burt (University of Florida), and Prof. Mahmood Karimi Hakak (Sienna College). Discounted early-bird registration ends December 11, 2016 . For more information and to register, consult the conference website:

Public Lecture on King Lear at TCD by Dr Ema Vyroubalova, 15 December

Public lecture on King Lear at TCD by Dr. Ema Vyroualova

December 15, 2015 from 7p.m., in the Edmund Burke Theatre, Arts Building, Trinity College Dublin
Tickets €6 each; to be guaranteed a place, please prebook by contacting the Oscar Wilde Centre,  21 Westland Row, TCD,  Dublin 2 (Phone: 01-8962885 email:

The lecture  is aimed both at students studying the play for the Leaving Certificate and anyone interested to learn more about this popular play by William Shakespeare. Dr. Vyroubalova will present the play in an engaging multi-media format, covering the play’s origins, its fortunes in Shakespeare’s England, as well as its rich afterlife on stage and screen. An informal Q&A session will take place after the talk. This lecture is part of the annual public Evening Lectures offered by TCD’s School of English–for more information on the whole series, see

Theatre: Cyclone Rep Theatre in Education

Cyclone Rep’s Shakespeare Sessions return to venues Nationwide  
Cyclone Rep Theatre Company will return to venues across the country in 2015/2016, with a repertory of 4 Shakespeare Sessions adapted from the prescribed Shakespeare texts for Junior and Senior Cycle students. Cyclone Rep, a theatre-in-education company based in Cork, has a mission to provide audiences of children and young people with an exciting and multi-faceted theatrical experience that engages and entertains, enriches and educates. Performances will take place in 10 theatres across the country throughout the academic year, followed by a 4-week tour directly to schools. The venue tour hits Dublin with a three-day run in The Helix, Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 November 2015.

The Sessions on offer by the company this year are: The Hamlet Session, in which Hamlet, as “everyman”, is explored from several perspectives, it combines outstanding performance, engaging analysis, humour and audience interaction; The King Lear Session, five unlikely characters tell the story of Lear and in the process make a journey of self-discovery; The Romeo & Juliet Session, modern performers are directed on stage by the bard himself whose 16th century attitudes and demeanour clash with today’s – arguments, discussion and enlightenment ensue; and The Merchant Session, the most interactive of Cyclone Rep’s Sessions, with an entertaining and informative synthesis of analysis and performance, while highlighting what a fine comedy it is.

Each Session is an abridged version of Shakespeare texts on the Junior and Leaving Certificate curriculum. The key scenes are performed true to text and the story arc is maintained. A workshop is woven throughout the show, encompassing audience participation, discussion on main themes and Q&A sessions with characters. The running time for each Session is approximately two hours, show times are 9.45am and 1pm, and the standard ticket price is €14 per student, teachers and SNAs free. For bookings contact Cyclone Rep on 021 2355 356 or email For full details and teacher resource packs please visit

Founded in 1998, Cyclone Rep has a prestigious performance history of serving the wider community with quality productions that entertain and educate. Alongside the four Shakespeare Sessions there are three additional Sessions in repertory: The Bullying Prevention Session for Primary and Secondary which combine a play, presentation and workshop to raise learner awareness and challenge attitudes around the impact of bullying; and Julius Caesar NI, a show for all ages in which Julius Caesar is revisited in an Irish prison context, set in 1981 and performed by prisoners struggling with their internment and the spectre of the hunger strikes. For more information please visit:

Cyclone Rep 2015/16 Tour Schedule


28th Sept – 23th Oct 2015 Bullying Prevention Session Nationwide

9th -13th November 2015 The Everyman Theatre (Cork)

17th – 19th November 2015 Helix Theatre (Dublin)

20th November 2015 Direct to Schools Shows (Dublin Area)

23rd – 27th November 2015 Direct to Schools Shows (Munster Area)


18th – 22nd January 2016 Lime Tree Theatre (Limerick)

25th & 26th January 2016 Watergate Theatre (Kilkenny)

28th & 29th January 2016 The Source Arts Centre (Thurles)

1st & 2nd February 2016 An Gríanan Theatre, (Letterkenny)

3rd – 5th February 2016 Direct to Schools (Letterkenny Area))

8th & 9th February 2016 Town Hall Theatre (Galway)

11th & 12th February 2016 The New Garage Theatre (Monaghan)

22nd – 26th February 2016 Bullying Prevention Session Nationwide

29th Feb – 4th March 2016 The Everyman Theatre (Cork)

7th – 15th March 2016 Helix Theatre (Dublin)

4th & 5th April 2016 Hawk’s Well Theatre (Sligo)

6th – 8th April 2016 Direct to Schools Shows (Sligo/Mayo)

11th & 12th April 2016 Muckross House (Killarney)

13th – 15th April 2016 Direct to Schools Shows (Kerry Area)

18th April – 20th May 2016 Direct to Schools Tour Nationwide

Theatre: Globe to Globe Hamlet, Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, 2 January 2016, 2.30pm & 7.30pm

From their announcement:

Globe to Globe Hamlet

Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin,
2 January 2016, 2.30pm & 7.30pm

We are delighted to announce that we will be bringing Globe to Globe Hamlet to Smock Alley TheatreDublinfor one night only. This is the first time the company have performed in Ireland, and will be the only stop in the country before they fly out to Lebanon to continue the tour which will finish back in London on the 23 April 2016.

Lasting only two-and-a-half hours and touring to every country in the world over two years, a handful of travelling players will perform a raw, thrillingly elemental production of this inexhaustible play. The company has visited 143 countries so far and travelled over 200,000 miles. Ireland will be the 155th country this production has been performed in.

The performances are promising to be very popular so book early to avoid disappointment.

Join the conversation on twitter by following @WorldHamlet

Tickets €30-€50

Irish Renaissance Seminar, “Time, Memory & Commemoration”, Marsh’s Library, 14 November


The visiting keynote speaker is Dr Peter Kirwan of the University of Nottingham, and there will be papers by Dr Naomi McAreavey (UCD) and Shauna O’Brien (TCD).

There will also be a discussion on plans for Shakespeare 400 in Ireland, chaired by Dr Ema Vyroubalova (TCD), with contributions by Dr Edel Lamb (QUB), Dr Jason McElligott (Marsh’s), Emer McHugh (NUIG), Dr Edel Semple (UCC) and more.

See our last post for further information.