Live Theatre returns to Diss with The Handlebards’s Romeo and Juliet

It was a slimmed down version of the Handlebards that entertained people in the park, as part of the Corn Hall’s continuing efforts to reintroduce live theatre to Diss. Fortunately, what the company lacked in numbers and bicycles was made up for in enthusiasm and invention.

Presenting their knockabout version of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, a trio of actors played a bewildering variety of parts with the help of costume changes, silly wigs and occasional songs. The performance was crammed with all sorts of comedy business – running around the park, opening invisible doors, chatting to Brian in the audience. None the less, there were moments of pathos as well, particularly in the way Lucy Green and Paul Moss emphasised just how young both Romeo and Juliet were.  

The evening was bracingly autumnal, but setting the stage in front of a Mere backdrop certainly added a sense of drama, particularly as the light left the day just as the tragedy took hold. As the constant belly laughs from the audience testified, this may have been an exuberant and jolly show, but it was also a celebration of the communal and much missed experience of live performance.