What the critics are saying about "Rockin' Romeo & Juliet"

Cinema Magazine (Germany) – November - Independent Film of the Month (MMVI)

Independent Film Tip - ROCKIN’ ROMEO & JULIET (translation)

“Shakespeare Rocks!” Staying faithful to this motto, the five members of the British-American rock band OGGI, featuring Liverpudlian lead singer David McGaw and New York bassist Ginger Wade, mounted a modern musical version of the greatest love story of all time on the stage in 2001. In this offbeat adaptation with 17 original songs composed and incorporated into the production, the band is mysteriously transported into the story of “Romeo and Juliet” and thrust into the middle of the conflict between the warring families of the Capulets and the Montagues – here represented through the visual style of Kabuki and classical Renaissance theatre.

Prompted by the success of the performances, director McGaw put his troupe to work in the California sun in a feature film version of his Shakespeare adaptation. The film’s post-production was completed this summer in Hamburg, where the result was a mix between “Shakespeare in Love” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Shortly thereafter, the film had a sneak-preview screening in the Zeise Kinos in Hamburg.

For further information about the mad musicians of the band OGGI and their upcoming antics in the forthcoming feature film project “Franshed”, as well as the film’s trailer and future screening information about “Rockin’ Romeo & Juliet,” visit www.oggimusic.com


May 15, 2001

Entertainment Articles:

Rockin' Romeo, Jumpin' Juliet

By Jack Briggs

Shakespeare Gets Plugged in and Cranked to '10'

That this is not a typical Shakespeare production is obvious even to the most casual observer. Perhaps it's the mime troupe appearing on stage when Juliet is drifting into a dream state. Or it could be the fact that everything seems modeled after Kabuki theater.

Then again, the bard most likely never mentioned anything about rock music in his own production notes for Romeo and Juliet.

So if you're up for something different, consider the following: Much of the dialogue in this Romeo and Juliet is in the form of song-as in all-out, driving, '60s-inspired rock'n'roll, courtesy of a live band. The Romeo here is performed in the strutting manner of a rock star by the band's frontman, David McGaw. In fact, the entire production-best described as an adaptation of the venerable play-was conceived, written and directed by McGaw.

A free performance of the work, titled David McGaw's Romeo & Juliet: An Original Rock Musical Based on William Shakespeare's Play, and produced by Chocablock Productions, is planned for Sunday, May 20 in Pershing Square, sponsored by the city Department of Recreation and Parks.

Not that McGaw's warped take on the bard is without precedent. We are in the midst of an era of Shakespeare revisionism, during which Hollywood has been serving up elaborate re-imaginings of such standards as Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, Othello and The Taming of the Shrew-not to mention another recent interpretation of Romeo and Juliet (the one with Leo DiCaprio). But unlike much of the Hollywood output, McGaw's version seems to place a refreshing emphasis on plain ol' fun. The artist is not pursuing any agenda other than two hours of classic lit mixed with rock'n'roll.

But why a rocking Romeo and Juliet? "I'm from Liverpool," said McGaw with a Beatlesesque lilt. "I just love the classic rock sound-the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who. Mick Jagger and Robert Plant-they're like great actors. And I've always had a love of Shakespeare, particularly this play. So I thought it would be great to marry these two superb art forms into this show."

Since dreaming it up two years ago, McGaw added more elements: the mimes; his rock band, OGGI; choreography; martial-arts; sword fights; and wildly varying musical styles (English madrigals, Middle Eastern-influences, court music and, of course, lots of rock'n'roll).

As the production coalesced, McGaw condensed the play's dialogue and paraphrased it, keeping all the best-known scenes while eliminating what he considered to be superfluous. The remaining sections, in turn, were infused with OGGI's brand of Stones-influenced rock.

McGaw, who started writing songs as a boy, attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in London, where he also performed with the New Shakespeare Company in productions of Othello and Love's Labours Lost. After a brief stint in New York, he moved to Los Angeles four years ago and immersed himself in the theatrical and musical scenes.

David McGaw's Romeo & Juliet was first performed in March at the La Cienega Community Center in West Hollywood, which led the Department of Recreation and Parks to book the production for Pershing Square.

After his Downtown engagement, McGaw hopes to see his production booked at an L.A.-area theater, and, ultimately, to have the musical made into a feature film, for which he has already written a screenplay. For now, however, McGaw is content simply having a good time.

David McGaw's Romeo & Juliet: An Original Rock Musical Based on William Shakespeare's Play play 3-5 p.m., May 20, in Pershing Square, 532 S. Olive St. (corner of 5th). Call (323) 871-1752.

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Film of the Week.Hamburg Germany. See www.oggimusic.com for excellent review of "Rockin Romeo and Juliet" with Cinema Independent Magazine.

David McGaw. You are so much more than a film director. The Editing, Sound and Colour is super. The fact that you also wrote the music and lyrics and played the leading role must make you one of the best film directors on the planet - in the world.

Andrea Fiorentini. Sond Consultant. Cinecitta Studios Rome Italy.

Ginger. You captured Juliet"s youth beautifully. The Pas De Deux is Excellent.

Ann Monahan Ballet Teacher. Los Angeles.

I Like yout Singing Style David. Your Voice. Distinctive. Your a Very Good Songwriter.

Sarah Beaty. Opera Singer. New York.

Wow David ! This is one of the best films I've ever seen.

Vijayalakshmi Kovila. Gynacologist. Hyderabad. India.

It's great Music. Oggimusic very impressive. Some of the best Rock Music ever.

Erica Lendik. Owner. English Language School. Hungary.

Come to Sweden David and Ginger. We love your movie.

Karin Herrman. Banker. Gothenburg. Sweden.

David McGaw and Ginger Wade can do everything. Musicians, Dancers, Actors, Director and Producer. An exceptional partnership.

Alex Azner. Theatre and Film Critc. Prague. Czech Republic.

It's very beautiful. David McGaw sexy Romeo. I tell all friends and practice English !

Ayako Sukomina. Schoolgirl. Tokyo. Japan.

I thought the documentary of the Film was even more interesting than the film. Cheers mate !

Josh Macanon. Musician. Sydney. Australia.

An Enlightened and Compelling Interpretation of the story.

Elenor Moran. BBC TV. London. England.

Beautiful colour. It reminds me of the "Adventures of Robin Hood" and "Dr. Zhivargo". David McGaw is a film poet.

John Leland. Production Designer. Hollywood.

David McGaw is the king of Hollywood Directors. He is the best feature film director in Hollywood.

Bob McEwen. Actor. Hollywood.

You are a very prolific songwriter David.

Steve Burr. Recording Studio Producer. Los Angeles.

David McGaw's script for "Franshed" is a masterpiece. It is like Hamlet. It is one of the best scripts I have ever read.

Dorian Gardner. Bookseller. Hollywood.



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See photos of the March 2001 performance of David McGaw's Romeo & Juliet