Pleasance courtyard (Beneath) 10:35am – 02/08/2023 – Rubbish Romeo and Juliet – The Rubbish Shakespeare Company

5 stars

Sheldon Chadwick

Do not let the show’s name fool you. Rubbish Romeo and Juliet is anything but rubbish! Created and performed by The Rubbish Shakespeare Company this is an hour of hilarious fun. The company have generated a stellar reputation at the fringe since their debut in 2018 for their accessible family friendly take on the work of the Bard.


Their production of Romeo and Juliet combines the traditional Shakespearean text and mashes it up with pop references a plenty. This blend takes real skill, knowledge and love of the original text. The stepping in and out of the play is handled with ease, such as the first kiss between Romeo and Juliet or lack thereof. There are elements of a play within a play as the star-crossed lovers bicker throughout their exchanges. The clown like playing from the trio of actors, Lee Hithersay (Juliet), Thomas Galashan (Romeo) and Alex McDonald is top draw. They have a chemistry which is intoxicating, each different but collectively they are magnificent.

This show is highly interactive with audience members encouraged to be part of the action, for example a young member of the audience becomes Romeos best man and must deliver the all-important best man speech and the hilarious exchange as the messenger fails to deliver the letter to Romeo who proceeds to tear it to pieces. The interactive moments are handled with care and fun for the participant, and it is clear the company love this element as they don’t know what is going to happen much to the delight of the audience.

The energy and playfulness on stage is constant and each have numerous swift changes of costume and character which they handle with ease ensuring no momentum is lost in this 60-minute romp. This is stripped back theatre at its very finest and I urge you to go even if you don’t have children. This is a company who know what an audience wants. The original RSC could learn a thing or two from The Rubbish Shakespeare Company in making Shakespeare accessible to all.

Rubbish Romeo and Juliet is a must see show if you are up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival this year. They will reinspire your love of Shakespeare – or make you fall in love with the Bard and that can only be a good thing.