I thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor showing of ROMEO & JULIET, at Lovejoy Fountain, in a joint production by Blue Monkey and Portland Actors Ensemble. The cast is strong, and production design more-or-less consistant. John Monteverde has directed for the groundlings a few times too many--how many times CAN Peter grab his "sword"--but over-the-top lewdness plays well out-of-doors.
Stand-outs include Cameron Peart (Juliet), Romeo (Matt Miller), Michael Streeter--from whom I'm stealing, when I get to play Capulet (Capulet), Joanna Burgess (the nurse), and Brian Allard (Friar Lawrence). The Balcony scene was particularly lovely, Cameron Peart and Matt Miller playing it with flexibility, wit, and insight.
Quibbles: the cast needs not only to project but also open up to the audience more often so they can be heard, and some bits of staging are closed visually, e.g., Juliet needs to place Tybalt's ghost in the house rather out stage right, in the fountain. Cues need to be picked up after intermission; the naturalistic pauses are draining tension out of some key moments. Lovejoy Fountain is a gorgeous setting for R&J, but it's a tough space to work effectively.
A fun and refreshing night in the park. I really had a great time.