“Romeo and Juliet” at Intiman

I dreaded going to see this play wondering how any production could offer something fresh or even interesting in this too-often-played tale. Well I was certainly wrong. This “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Alison Narver has all the pathos and lots of unexpected subtlety.

You can tell something interesting is in store as soon as you see Jennifer Zeyl’s set. Yes of course there’s a balcony, but center stage are three green roll-down doors, the sort you might see in front of markets in a developing country or garages in a rough neighborhood in New York. It evokes past and present as well as first world and third world. It creates a backdrop for antagonistic street fights between the Capulets and Montagues. And, when the doors are open they serve as perfect windows into the Capulet’s party, the Friar’s sanctuary, even Juliet’s crypt. The dance scene during the Capulet party, partially hidden behind gauze is especially effective.

Fawn Ledesma as Juliet captures the 14-year-old child better than any other actress I’ve seen. Her transition from kid to hot lover is a bit abrupt, but one forgives this wisp of a girl her passion. After all her Romeo (Quinn Franzen) is lithe, lovely to look at, and arrestingly acrobatic.

Marya Sea Kaminski as Juliet’s nurse practically steals the show with her stylized gestures, pantomime, and manner of speaking. She proves that moderation isn’t always the best policy. And Timothy McCuen Piggee as Lord Capulet brings all emotion to the fore as adoring father and then horrified parent as his daughter does the unthinkable.

So, welcome back Intiman! This whole summer festival has proven just how much we’ve missed you. It’s such fun and so impressive to see the actors metamorphose from one character to another as they appear in the different plays. And how smart you were to select four plays that have widespread appeal yet specific attraction for different audiences. Well done!

Through Aug. 26 (check box office at 206 443-7178 or www.intiman.org for exact dates), Intiman Theatre 201 Mercer St., Seattle, tickets $30 at Ticketmaster.com.

Leave a Reply