I came to this particular Fringe show with high hopes. After all, who could fail to get excited about seeing a gay version of Romeo and Juliet staged by men in Technicolor bear suits?
My appetite had already been whetted by a YouTube clip of our furry heroes Romeo and Chulio doing their idiosyncratic disco dancing routine which brightened up an otherwise boring afternoon at my desk. Surely this performance was guaranteed to tickle my funny bone?
There are some silly songs, some lame attempts to seduce Juliet at her balcony before the bears realize they only have eyes for each other, followed by a telephone wedding and a failed suicide pact. Drinking orange juice, it turns out, won’t kill you, even if you happen to be a bloke in a bear suit. Chulio has his cherry popped to his orgasmic, sweaty-faced delight. The pair munch some Haribos. Romeo, we learn, doesn’t like the green ones.
Alternative versions of the Bard can make for much theatrical hilarity—just ask those bad boys of abridgment, The Reduced Shakespeare Company—and your typical Fringe Festival punter has an appetite for the experimental. However, while plenty of other people in the audience laughed repeatedly, I struggled to find the antics of these two entertaining. It’s hard for me to put my finger on exactly why I didn’t enjoy this quirky love story as much as I’d hoped. I can’t help concluding that the pair have enough material for a funny YouTube clip but not for a full show.
Indeed, at thirty minutes, the performance only lasted half as long as other Fringe offerings— hardly great value for money. As Romeo says to Chulio at one point while they debate how to keep that magic spark alive, “Something’s missing.” I’m afraid I’d have to agree.
Romeo and Chulio
Performance dates and showtimes: 30.5–1.6, 16.45–17:30
Location: A Studio Rubín, Malostranské náměsti 9
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased from the venue or online via Ticketstream