Geoffrey Kent in Romeo & Juliet

Mercutio is one hell of a role, with some of the best speeches anywhere in Shakespeare. The trouble is that with all the productions of Romeo and Juliet, we’ve heard them all before. A lot. How does an actor make the long description of Queen Mab’s nocturnal dream visits sound new? How does he approach the death scene, with its famous description of his wound — “not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve: ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man” — as if no one had ever done it before? In this Colorado Shakespeare Festival production, Geoffrey Kent’s rendition of the former was a superb piece of playful invention, and rather than playing Mercutio’s dying comments as a gallant attempt at humor, he forced the words out through progressively weakening bursts of rage and frustration. All in All, Kent’s performance was a tour de force.