Northern News Services
This weekend, the Sir John Franklin drama program presented Romeo and Winifred, a hyper, spastic and immensely enjoyable play that took Romeo and Juliet, ripped it into tiny pieces, and threw it up in the air with a celebratory cheer. Then it made snow angels in the remains.
The play was a joyously messy musical parody of the star crossed lovers, separated this time by rival family clothing chains.
This was explained as the set from "Family Feud" lowered into view, pitting the Montagues and Capulets against one another in a vicious, TV-friendly competition.
It only got sillier from there.
As Romeo and Winifred marched along the path to (near) tragedy, the play stopped for pie fights, hot dog skewer fights, musical dance sequences and to poke numerous holes in its source material.
For example, during the lovers' secret wedding, Friar Tuck (don't ask) wonders if anyone can think of a reason the two lovers can't be united... other than them being 16-years-old, having families that are mortal enemies, and only knowing each other for 18 hours or so.
Despite the simulated, food-centric violence onstage (that resulted in a skewered leg for actor Stephen Kruger), the play ended on a happy note, as Lady Capulet and Lady Montague hatched an alliance behind the scenes to combine their flagging businesses.
Romeo (surviving some low-quality poison) and Winifred (surviving a self-inflicted toothpick wound) were happy to shill for the new business, wrapping everything up in a neat, made-for-TV package.
Then they broke into a song-and-dance version of The Darkness's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," complete with a guitar lowering from the ceiling. Egads.
It was a fitting end to night of well-executed song, dance and fun, augmented by excellent sets, sparkling costumes and booming sound.
Reflecting on this year's production, director Landon Peters said the success of the play was due to the hard work and dedication of the cast and crew, who had practised six days a week for months.
"I can't think of 50 better kids to work with," he said. "That's the reason you get into teaching, to work with kids like that."