Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

Old Vic to Offer a Beatle Angle

Cleveland Press January 25, 1967

The phone calls to the box office were decidedly from a new group of customers.

Among those who showed up at the box office was a girl in a mod outfit.

These were Beatle fans and among them was a stirring of interest in a forthcoming production of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet."

Could it be that they were switching their loyalties from the Long Hair Lads of Liverpool to the Bard of Avon? No, alas and alack, 'tis not this at all.

The production will be by the Bristol Old Vic Theater which has just left England for a five-month tour of the United States. It will play the Music Hall, May 5 and 6, under the auspices of the Cleveland Opera Assn.

Now if the truth were known, it is unlikely that some of these interested ticket buyers know the difference between the Bristol Old Vic and Bristol-Myers.

But this they do know -- that the Juliet of the company is 20-year-old Jane Asher, a red-headed English actress whose real life Romeo is Beatle Paul McCartney.

This fame-by-association has already caused tremors on the teen-age seismograph. Miss Asher's departure was fully covered by news media including her remarks that "she wants to marry him within the year and have lots and lots of babies."

Without really knowing anything of Miss Asher's talents it is a safe guess that they are better than average. The Bristol Old Vic boasts of such former members as Peter O'Toole, Paul Rogers, Dorothy Tutin, Rosemary Harris, John Neville and Eric Porter.

The Bristol Old Vic came into being in 1946 as a branch company of London's Old Vic, this offshoot being located in the city of Bristol. The London Old Vic was absorbed in 1963 into the new British National Theater. But in Bristol the old name continued.

In Cleveland the company will offer "Hamlet," Friday, May 5, at 8:30 p.m., and two performances of "Romeo and Juliet" on Saturday, May 6, at 3:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Short Subjects: Movie version of Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, opens at the Mayland, Mar. 22.

The motion picture version of James Joyce's "Ulysses" will play the Hipp for three days, Mar. 14, 15 and 16. This is part of a simultaneous presentation of the film in 135 theaters throughout the United States.

There will be no advance showing for critics. The film claims to be faithful to the original and is expected to be controversial.