Thursday, March 19, 2015

Winter Reading 2015 The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Rome and Juliet

I love the director's notes to himself at the end of the play. It shows his brainstorming list for settings - 1920s Chicago (nope, gunfire would be heard by the zookeeper), dragonriders (no, balls of flame would be noticed too easily), rival marching bands (too noisy) - oh, a petting zoo is quiet! And so, another adaptation of the Bard is begun. Romeo is a rooster in a petting zoo and Juliet is a bear in the woods; petter and wilder can never be friends. But they do meet and become best friends. When Tibbs comes to the zoo to find the chickens who crashed the masquerade party, he plucks Mercutio (who dies of embarrassment). Tempers flare, it gets ugly. The wise owl comes up with a plan for Juliet and Romeo to be together, but the messenger is a squirrel easily distracted by, we have a sad ending.

Continuing jokes from the first book (MacBeth) show up - like the elephants arriving late to the play and blocking everyone's view of Romeo's duel with Tibbs. There is a young monkey complaining about being there, who then decides he loves tragedies and want to be an actor. What about vendors selling "greasy, grimy gopher guts" to the crowd? For a tragedy, there are plenty of laughs. And the creators even sneak in a little Shakespearean history by including it in the director's "Notes to Cast and Crew."

This would be fun to read with a class studying Shakespeare. The comparisons and contrasts would make a very lively discussion. But any graphic novel fans would have a great time with all the jokes (verbal and visual).

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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