As a young Classics undergraduate, Tom Hiddleston’s rendition of Romeo in the Cambridge Arts Theatre Show was reviewed in a Varsity article back in 2001. The actor is pictured staring lovingly into his Juliet’s (Lydia Fox) eyes and his performance was praised as being “polished and unobtrusive”. While Hiddleston clearly impressed the reviewer as “a Romeo who really can vault over orchard walls as if on the wings of love”, Lydia Fox (also now a professional actor) seemingly left a lot to be desired. The reviewer appeared to find her performance over zealous and almost comical as she wrote of her “chasing Romeo round the bed after their night together”; a line normally laden with emotion, “wherefore art thou Romeo?”, apparently elicited a titter from the audience.
Star of The Night Manager, Thor and The Avengers films, Hiddleston began his acting career at Cambridge. This week, 17 years later, the Cambridge Arts Theatre again hosts a student performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This performance is led by the Marlowe Society, which was founded in 1907 and has produced many distinguished renditions of Shakespeare plays over the years, including a Romeo and Juliet which was watched by Winston Churchill and an Edward II in 1958 which was broadcast by the BBC.
The Marlowe Society also boasts several noteworthy alumni such as Sir Ian McKellen, Rachel Weisz and James Norton, all of whom have lent their voices to a recorded reading of the play’s prologue for next week’s production. This year’s directive team have opted for a performance influenced by Carmen and Lorca; no doubt the 2018 rendition will prove as “imaginative” and “effortless” as Hiddleston’s did 17 years ago.
Imagine going to college with Tom. You and your roommates had a wild party last night, and when you woke up the next morning, Tom was passed out on the couch. Quietly, you start to make breakfast for everyone, waking Tom up with the smell of maple syrup and pancakes. The two of you felt an instant connection last night, and you’re thrilled when he asks if you want to spend the day together.