THE TELEGRAPH.CO.UK – They are the star-crossed young lovers set to ignite the West End with their passion in Sir Kenneth Branagh’s new production of Romeo and Juliet.
And the first glimpse of Lily James and Richard Madden in character suggests it could be something of a steamy affair.
James and Madden, who also starred together in the film version of Cinderella, are to bring Romeo and Juliet to a new generation of fans with a fresh take on the centuries’-old story, under the direction of Sir Kenneth.
The production, due at the Garrick Theatre, London, from May to August next year, will also star 77-year-old Sir Derek Jacobi as Mercutio, one of the most surprising casting decisions in recent memory.
The first picture to be released of the show reveals James and Madden in an intimate clinch, suggesting the 2016 version will not shy away from the more passionate elements of the storyline.
While its modern look is a far cry from the bodices of traditional Shakespeare productions, it is understood the production will stick closely to the Bard’s original script and plot.
James, best known for her role as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey, is seen gripping her co-star’s open shirt as they get into character as Montague and Capulet.
The show is to be broadcast live in cinemas in the UK and abroad on July 7, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company has announced.
The company’s current production, The Winter’s Tale starring Sir Kenneth and Dame Judi Dench, will be broadcast live in more than 1,300 cinemas on November 26, after the theatre show sold out.
Speaking of Romeo and Juliet earlier this month, Sir Kenneth admitted the play has “real challenges”.
He told the Stage: “Of course I by no means felt I had cracked it 30 years ago, when it was the first Shakespeare I directed. I wanted to go back to that play again, and when you work with people you realise have the appetite and the ability to play the parts, like Lily James and Richard Madden, and those talents are ready to go to work with a play that you feel contains unfinished business, that becomes very enticing. We all spent a couple of years on Cinderella, from the casting to filming and then playing it through the distribution and press tour to promote the film. So you get to know each other, and to have those longer conversations about what you’d like to do together.” (source)
A brand new promotional poster for Kenneth Branagah’s Romeo and Juliet – featuring Richard and Lily James – has been released and you can see it in our gallery! Be sure to check it our, as it looks AMAZING!
While in Italy filming his new show Medici Masters of Florence, Richard attended the Roma Fiction Fest for an exclusive world preview of the drama. Several pics from the red carpet and panel have now been added to the gallery, but be sure to keep the site and twitter @rmaddenfan checked for more additions!
GARRICK THEATRE – Shakespeare’s classic romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet will play at the Garrick Theatre from May 2016 as part of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season. Richard Madden and Lily James will play the star-crossed lovers, alongside Derek Jacobi as the hot-tempered Mercutio. Kenneth Branagh will direct this production, which will be the fourth to appear in his much-anticipated collection of shows at the Garrick.
Romeo and Juliet will reunite James and Madden, who played Cinderella and Prince Charming in Branagh’s 2015 film Cinderella. Madden is best known for his performance as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones and his recent appearance in BBC One’s drama Lady Chatterley’s Lover. James made her name as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey and has played in a variety of stage productions. Associate director Rob Ashford and designer Christopher Oram will also be involved in this production.
A heart-breaking tale of young love, Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous works and is regularly performed across the world. It tells the tale of two families locked in a feud, the Capulets and the Montagues. Romeo is the hot-blooded son of the Montagues, and Juliet the beautiful teenage daughter of the Capulets. After meeting at a masquerade ball, the pair fall instantly in love but their forbidden coupling has devastating and fatal consequences.
It has been commented that the choice of stage and screen veteran Derek Jacobi as the young, hot-tempered Mercutio will challenge the standard view of the playing age of Shakespeare characters. In a time where gender is constantly challenged within Shakespeare productions, such as an all-female Titus Andronicus, it will be very interesting to see the effects of playing with the age of the characters.
Romeo and Juliet promises to be a wonderful piece of theatre and will run at the Garrick Theatre from May 12th 2016 to August 13th 2016. (source)
Richard will attend the Roma Fiction Fest on November 14 together with the cast of the new drama Medici: Masters of Florence (currently filming in Italy). Be sure to keep the site and twitter @rmaddenfan checked for photos and news that day!