Riotous take on Romeo and Juliet heads to Leeds Playhouse next month

8th February 2024

Hilarious one-liners, clowning, balconies made of people and a food fight with one too many sausage rolls – The Rubbish Shakespeare Company’s riotous take on Romeo and Juliet is heading to Leeds Playhouse next month.

Shakespeare will be spinning in his grave on 13-16 March when three self-described “idiots” bring their Edinburgh Fringe hit to the Bramall Rock Void as an anarchic and joyous family-friendly treat.

Described as ‘like Horrible Histories but funnier’ (Primary Times), the show takes fantastic liberties with the language, splicing Shakespeare’s classic text with gags, physical comedy and slapstick. It’s a tragedy – but funny.


Lee Hithersay, who plays Juliet, amongst others, said: “This play is supposed to be romantic, but the punters laugh their heads off! The other two won’t stop throwing strops onstage – frankly, it’s embarrassing. Juliet’s supposed to fall in love with Romeo, but have you seen the state of him? Genuinely, I’m just counting down the days until it’s over.”


Touring since 2018, The Rubbish Shakespeare Company has become a firm favourite for many families across the country with their joyously irreverent take on Shakespeare’s works. Founded as a creative education company in 2010, they have developed such a rapport with their audience – both young and old – that they have become a cornerstone of The Pleasance’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.  


But is this “rubbish” show actually rubbish?


“While we squabble and bicker and cover each other from head to toe in gallons of water, it’s all tightly controlled and rehearsed. Each moment has been carefully tuned to achieve the maximum number of laughs, though it won’t appear that way,” said Tom Galashan, who plays Romeo.


All their set and props are foraged and bought from discount shops, which means children fired up by their performance can explore Shakespeare at home using stuff they find around the house.  


Lee said: “Shakespeare can be out-and-out pompous for some people, so we try our best to de-gentrify it. We aim to make Shakespeare for everyone – regardless of age or background. That’s the reason we’re ‘rubbish’; if we can do it, anyone can.”


Listings information

The Rubbish Shakespeare Company presents


13-16 March

Bramall Rock Void, Leeds Playhouse

Age 6+

60 minutes (no interval)

Box office 0113 213 7700

Book online