1958 – Romanoff and Juliet fails to please the critics
NCP’s 5th production and the first of 1958 was a comedy – Romanoff and Juliet – by Peter Ustinov and it was staged in the National Theatre from 23 January to 1 February 1958.
Ustinov re-visited the East-West theme of his earlier play The Love of Four Colonels. This time young East meets young West and they fall in love. Some commentators criticised Ustinov for re-working the theme of his previous play.
The NCP production of Romanoff and Juliet also received mixed reviews from Kenyan critics. In the main, the reviews were largely negative. The cast were accused of being inaudible and were only saved by the appearance of Leonard Pierrepoint who brought the play to life. John Ebdon failed to live up to his previous high standard in Ring Round The Moon. Other well-established NCP players such as Rurik Ronsky, Bryan Epsom and Dorothy Patience were accused of dithering and teetering on the fringe of achievement. However, the producer, Denis Patience, was highly praised by one critic for having ‘achieved a major triumph with his ‘revolving’ stages.’
In summary, NCP would have taken home some lessons from this production and standards would have to improve.