The first day of New York Fashion Week showed the true dedication and loyalty of the fashion world as editors, celebrities, bloggers and spectators all braved the cold slipping their way into the tents. The first show of the day was Nicholas K which appropriately featured layers and bundling for those cold winter days inspired by the novel “Men at Sea” by Jean Gaumy, “The Deadliest Catch” of the literary world if you will.

Who was there:

Sitting in the front row were actors Eric West and Tashiana Washington of “Gimme Shelter”. Also sitting in the front were Kyle Anderson of Marie Claire and Jackie Fraser-Swan, designer of Emerson.

The Collection:

Winter can be a discouraging time for fashion; the colors are muted, the figure and shape is lost, and your expensive pieces can be destroyed at any moment. But Nicholas K’s Fall/Winter 14 collection manages to make winter chic, streamlined, and wearable in the worst weather.

The true feat that Nicholas K trumps is the ability to create shape even with tons of layers. The models looked fabulous in cable knit sweaters, parkas, button up shirts, leather bermuda shorts and rain boots all in monochromatic hues. The intricasies of strings, jingling buttons, and toggles were not lost in the designers aesthetics and almost enhanced the maritime design. The added accessory of a nautical rope was a distinct reminder of the oceanic inspiration.

Each look was bottomed off with wearable Honeywell boots and topped off with an array of headgear including fur hoods, fur hats, and midnight black bob wigs.

The palette while slightly dulled to reflect more naturally occurring colors of nature with grey, black, slate blue, burgundy and ox blood.

Bold:

Nicholas and Chris Kunz of Nicholas K do a remarkable job of balancing theatricality with accessibility. Their Fall 2014 collection is the perfect wearable collection.

Ardency Inn - First Blog Contribution by Patrice Melville!

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A dark bar on the Lower East Side might not seem like the ideal location for a makeup presentation. That is, at least, what I was thinking as I watched one attendee after another pull out their iPhone flashlights to examine the trays of makeup placed throughout the back room of Fontana’s, a very unique bar hidden among nondescript looking buildings. However, once the presentation started you could see that this was the perfect setting for Ardency Inn co-founders Gilles Kortzagadarian and Stephane Siboni to present their new line of versatile makeup. 
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Driven by Gilles and Stephane’s love of music, along with the creative direction of makeup mastermind James Vincent, Ardency Inn bridges the gap between artistry and wearability, making it accessible to a wide array of women.
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 Ardency Inn features 3 unique lines named for the music scenes they represent: Punker, Modster, and newly released Americana. While each line features many unique products to cater to a different look - Punker being full of dark, smoky hues - Modster brimming with vibrantly pigmented products - and Americana with a classic, more natural palette - all of the lines can be mixed and matched to suit just how you’re feeling that day.
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The feature I was most impressed with from the entire Ardency Inn collection was the versatility of the products. A prime example of this, and one of the mainstays of Americana, is the Custom Coverage Concentrate, a product which can be mixed with any water-based moisturizer to create any amount of coverage needed, from tinted moisturizer to concealer, depending on how much product is used. I was also impressed by the array of colors it came in, seeming to match a broader range of skin tones than most other lines on the market. As someone who enjoys a more natural makeup look but occasionally suffers from blemishes I love this concept, allowing me to buy one product and have it meet all my needs.
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Ardency Inn truly lives up to its tagline “beauty unplugged” as well as its goal to make beauty accessible to women of all ages and backgrounds. With highly pigmented products which can be used in a number of versatile ways this may be the right line to invest in for everyone from vibrant musicians to your everyday, no-nonsense woman. The line is currently available at Sephora and through ArdencyInn.com with price points ranging from $19 - $39. This just may be the next line of essentials for anyone looking to make a statement without much effort.
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images via Sephora, exception: James Vincent photo from Facebook.

Article written by Patrice Melville

Quick Oscar Movie Reviews

This year is a major “good” movie year. I have seen most of the Oscar movie nominees for Best Picture and before the Oscars on March 2, I wanted to give you my rundown of my picks for Best Picture.

  1. 12 Years a Slaveimage I have given my 12 Years a Slave review in ICFashion Flix but here’s a quick recap. 12 Years a Slave was a powerful, upsetting and gripping movie. The imagery is almost overwhelming, the character development is heartbreaking and writing is impeccable. The performances stick out like a sore thumb as groundbreaking. I think Steve McQueen did an incredible job. He should have gotten all of this recognition for Shame as well. —-  My #1 pick for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. 
  2. Dallas Buyers Club - image

    Speaking of gripping, this movie was an interesting emotional ride. Matthew McConaughey takes a bigoted, racist character and makes him somewhat likeable if not sympathetic. Denis O’Hare is underused in this stellar cast movie that includes the wonderful Jennifer Garner but the standout performances belong to McConaughey and Jared Leto. Not my favorite written and storylined movie of the year, but the performances are bold, it can’t be ignored.
  3. The Wolf of Wall Street - image The Wolf of Wall Street ties for my pick of second best film of the year. Martin Scorsese’s view of the morally corrupt, self- proclaimed celebrity Jordan Belfort is thoroughly entertaining and sad. Scorsese manages to create a crazed maniac that destroys himself without making it self-loathing or hypnotic. The audience is mesmerized by the destruction while learning from it as well. Leonardo’s wonderful performance gave the film the perfect amount of cartoon and gravity.
  4. American Hustle - image

    American Hustle is a brilliantly written and directed film by David O. Russel. I still have to admit that Silver Linings Playbook struck a better chord with me which is why I have rated this film the 3rd best option for Best Picture. Wonderful performances were given by Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jennifer Lawrence. Jeremy Renner’s performance was underrated. The story could have used a little bit more hustle but the best character development in all of the movies was done with Adams’ character, Sydney Prosser.
  5. Captain Phillips - image Tom Hanks. That’s all you ever really need to say to get an Oscar nod. He was brilliant as the unshakeable Captain Phillips. But Barkhad Abdi was a formidable adversary in Captain Phillips. Abdi’s performance was courageous and smart that somehow played upon the audience’s empathy bone as well.
  6. Gravity - image

    Gravity was a cinematographic masterpiece. Beautiful and sometimes frightening but by far the best part of the film was Sandra Bullock’s performance. Because Bullock’s performance was all her, I found it hard to appreciate the direction of the film. Not all things came together with the film, George Clooney and Alfonso Cuaron included, which is why I don’t think it should win best picture.
  7. Her -  image Possibly the most overrated film of the season. Spike Jonze’s Her is sweet for sure and Joaquin Phoenix does an amazing job as adorable and complex, Theodore Twombly. Jonze misses the boat on believability. I have a better time believing that a robot from the future with teleport back to the 80’s to kill a woman named Sarah Connor. The premise for Her was just too silly for me to suspend my disbelief. The performances were the highlights, including another great Amy Adams performance.
  8. Nebraska - image

    I missed two films on this list and Nebraska was one of them. I’m sure it is a better film than Her as I was terribly disappointed with that movie, but as I have not seen Nebraska, I can’t give an accurate review. The trailer and the performances look solid though and remind of the Coen Brothers’ dry storytelling. Looks a little like Fargo.
  9. Philomena - image Again, I haven’t gotten a chance to see this film and haven’t even heard that much about it. I do love Steve Coogan but I don’t know enough about the film to give a proper review.

images via imdb.com

Who are your picks for best picture at this year’s Oscars?

Last Night’s Golden Globes…

I have a lot of opinions about the wins announced at last night’s Golden Globes. While I didn’t see the show, I am going to do a fashion and winner/nominee review of the night!

Starting off with Best Motion Picture - Drama: 12 Years a Slave deserved it! Not much else to say about that…

Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical: American Hustle, once again deserved it…not going to say anything else.

Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical:

Winner: Amy Adams - American Hustle

Nominees: 

Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha (2012)

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Amy Adams’ win was well deserved. It was unfortunate that Margot Robbie did not get a nomination for The Wolf of Wall Street as I saw the film on Sunday and thought she was wonderful in it! As for Amy’s fashion on the red carpet, I was less that enthused. The Valentino dress did nothing for her figure and proved that she could easily be washed out by red surroundings. Not my favorite…

Best Actress in a Drama:

Winner: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine

Nominees: 

Sandra Bullock - Gravity (2013)

Judi Dench for Philomena (2013)

Kate Winslet for Labor Day (2013)

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My biggest problem with this award was not Cate Blanchett, she is wonderful and an amazing actress. What was wrong was that Lupita Nyong’o was not nominated in this category! She was easily the main actress in 12 Years a Slave and should have gotten the nomination. As for Cate Blanchett’s impeccable fashion on the carpet, she is flawless in the beautiful lace Armani Prive couture gown!

Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy:

Winner:

Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street

Nominees:

Bruce Dern for Nebraska (2013)

Joaquin Phoenix for Her (2013)

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Leonardo DiCaprio looked dashing and perfectly golden for the globes! He deserved his win for The Wolf of Wall Street and enjoyed it with a new bronzed hue and streamlined tux.

Best Actor in a Drama:

Winner: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

Nominees:

Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips (2013)

Robert Redford for All Is Lost (2013)

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This may seem blasphemous but I believe that Matthew McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club warrants at LEAST a Golden Globe. What a powerful performance, and he wore green to show is confidence in a successful win! He looked fitter, thank goodness, and happy wearing velvet in the color of success.

Best Supporting Actress:

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle

Nominees:

Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine (2013)

June Squibb for Nebraska (2013)

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Perhaps the most confusing award of the night was taken by Jennifer Lawrence, who completely deserved it. What was not deserved was the way the Musical/Comedy and Drama nominees were all of a sudden lumped together for supporting. Lupita should have received the award nomination for Best Actress in a Drama and Sarah Paulson, should have received a supporting nomination for best drama and won. But oddly enough the Golden Globes lumps two categories that have been separated the entire time, together for the supporting nominations.

Now that I have vented about that, Jennifer Lawrence looked breathtaking in an odd column Dior gown that included some bondage and what looks like sheets from a very expensive bed. Only Jennifer Lawrence could pull off a beautiful gown like this and not look like she escaped from Arkham Asylum.

HONORABLE MENTION HERE:

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Lupita Nyong’o looked stunning in a Ralph Lauren caped column gown!

Best Supporting Actor:

Winner: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club

Nominees:

Daniel Brühl for Rush (2013/I)

Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave (2013)

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Same complaint as for the supporting actress category, Bradley Cooper deserved his award for American Hustle but I believe Jared Leto deserved his award for Dallas Buyers Club as well! Points taken off for his pastiness but points on for pulling off a lovely tuxedo scarf!

Best Director for a Motion Picture:

Winner: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity

Nominees:

Alexander Payne for Nebraska (2013)

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I have to disagree whole-heartedly with this win. I believe Martin Scorsese, David O. Russell or Steve McQueen deserved this award. I was underwhelmed by the direction in Gravity, giving more praise to the acting and cinematography. Not to mention that Cuaron’s disheveled appearance turned me completely off! His tie was askew and tux wrinkled. Not a great look.

Fashion Honorable Mentions are:

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Kerry Washington in Balenciaga (Alexander Wang)

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Zoe Saldana in Prabal Gurung

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Sandra Bullock in Prabal Gurung

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Lizzy Caplan in Emilio Pucci

(images via IMDB.com)

Did everyone you want to win, win last night? Who was your favorite on the red carpet?

2014 New Year Health Craze!

imageNow I’m pretty sure that everyone makes a resolution in the new year to be healthy and they all start out great! You get back in the gym, start eating healthier and feel good about yourself. But let’s face it, it hardly ever lasts. Come Super Bowl and awards season time, you start downing wings and potato chips with a fury. I have to constantly remind myself not to stuff my face.

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But here are some healthier options to fix that snack craving and beat out that greasy need. But remember, no matter how healthy something is, it can become unhealthy without moderation.

Classic Super Bowl finger foods that are healthy:

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Awards show season crowd pleasers:

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So chic-ers, remember you don’t have to get bent out of shape during fun time with your family. There are always healthy options. Just be proactive. Now for me to continue following my own advice!!!

Happy New Year!

tastefullyoffensive:

Life and Donuts by Pablo Stanley

What a touching comic!

Join us tonight at the Society of Illustrators for an exclusive fashion sketching session with Jorge Vega Umana! Invite above!!!

Join us tonight at the Society of Illustrators for an exclusive fashion sketching session with Jorge Vega Umana! Invite above!!!

ICFashion Flix - Long Distance Drunk

November 22nd was a somewhat cold and rainy day. And while it was bleak outside, @SkimMilkProject and I decided to warm up at The Smith before we made our way to Long Island City for The Distilled Theatre Company production of Long Distance Drunk

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Long Distance Drunk is a new play written by Corey Pajka, a young playwright from Brooklyn with a keen sense of hipsterdom and witty banter, and directed by Sharone Halevy. The play is about two young people, Cameron (Paul Eddy) and Meg (Marlowe Holden), who forge a relationship in college based around music, movies, books, and beer. Years later, as their relationship cracks, and their addictions deepen, they go their separate ways and create new lives for themselves. After overcoming their dependencies, they discover the only thing they were ever addicted to was each other. Closeness drove them apart, but distance may bring them back together.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the wittiness, familiarity and warmth of Long Distance Drunk. While it had its fair share of overindulgent pretentious speeches, the conversations are less preachy, logical, and serve as more of character development. Paul Eddy tackles the language of the play with effortless charm. Eddy’s characterization and levity as Cameron manages to lure you into his spell and you quickly realize why the character Meg has fallen for Cameron. Marlowe Holden as Meg is Paul Eddy’s antithesis without being shrill and annoying. Holden manages to walk that fine line to make Meg a like-able and deep character that the audience roots for. Brittany Parker’s music propels the story with its melancholy strumming and engagement with each action of the play.

Corey Pajka’s melodrama bends some rules regarding linear timelines in theatre. The action is played out disjointedly with flashbacks and fast forwards that don’t always make it easy to fit the puzzle together. I found myself being pulled out for certain scenes and asking myself, “Where and when are they?” Halevy’s direction helps smooth some of the wrinkles in the quilt-like timeline.

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While the play is largely focused on addiction, there is little information given as to the why. Why would an addiction occur in a too-smart-for-his-own-good college student and a shy somewhat sheltered freshman? I’ve known my fair share of both kinds of people, and not one did drugs or became an alcoholic. Unfortunately, there is a small disconnect for me with Pajka’s writing and the reason he gives for being dependent on substances. However, the brilliance of Pajka’s missing “why,” is the truth that anyone can fall prey to addiction, whether it is an addiction to exercise, drugs, alcohol, food, etc.

There were a number of standout moments in the play including a beautifully melodic confession opening the second act at both characters’ AA meetings. The juxtaposition of the characters works nicely in the scene creating a blender full of mixed emotions. Another scene perfectly suited for Holden and Eddy happens in front of the TV while each character “watches” the same program but in different places and presumably different times due to time zones. A religious program plays on the TV as Cameron heckles and Meg withdrawals. The harmony of the scene works as again Eddy shows his comedic side while Holden holds the dramatic side and pushes the story forward, reminding the audience that addiction is no laughing matter and causing conflicting emotions.

I was incredibly impressed with the performances in this wonderful drama. Standing ovation to Marlowe Holden and Paul Eddy. And of course kudos to Corey Pajka. Pajka’s story hit the depth it was looking for but could have left out the cliche ending. I felt thoroughly entranced by Long Distance Drunk and loved each and every one of the sad and funny moments.

ICFASHION FLIX - CATCHING FIRE!!!!

This weekend was the much anticipated, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiere! Another blockbuster movie graced the theaters with a whopping $161 million for its opening weekend beating out the original The Hunger Games opening weekend. As Catching Fire is my favorite book in the Suzanne Collins series, I had high expectations, it lived up to them!

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Catching Fire is the sequel to The Hunger Games and picks up where it left off with Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) after winning the games. Katniss is torn by her feelings for Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and her feelings toward Peeta. After a full totalitarian reinforcement in the districts and the Victory tour, Peeta and Katniss with the guidance of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) and Effie (Elizabeth Banks), find themselves in The Hunger Games yet again with the Quarter Quell twist. There Katniss and Peeta must fight for their lives hopelessly once more.

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Catching Fire was even better than The Hunger Games. The sequel was more influenced by the book. Of course they left a few details out but due to the fact that the book trilogy will be split into 4 movies, there is bound to be a few holes filled in. But CF was pretty satisfying to the book readers and even those that haven’t read the series. There are not a lot of surprises in CF but that is because they stayed faithful to the novel. There are added scenes of President Snow with his grand daughter that gave a depth that isn’t explained in the book.

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New characters are introduced in Catching Fire. We meet the new, old tributes: Finnick (Sam Claflin), Johanna (Jena Malone), Mags (Lynn Cohen), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), and Wiress (Amanda Plummer) with the arena villians, the careers. Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is the Quarter Quell gamemaker with a few tricks up his sleeve for the tributes and the Capitol.

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The costumes for the futuristic film are not as outrageous as they could be as they are made by contemporary designers like Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen and Prabal Gurung who’s gorgeous take on Katniss’ surprise wedding dress was astonishing and beautiful. Aside from the tribute parade, Capitol citizens and the homage to the storm troopers of Star Wars, the costumes were subdued and realistic.

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I truly enjoyed Catching Fire and am looking forward to the next movie although Mockingjay is not my favorite book, the first half of the book can be enjoyable. I hope the movies are able to fix a few mistakes that occurred in the last novel of the series.

Last night, I caught one of the final performances of Romeo & Juliet by The Poetics Theatre Collective directed by Daniel Roberts. The production featured a collection of smartly trained NYC actors and a simple black box theatre at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. The actors made use of a simple set containing 2 black cubes and a platform used as a bed and a tomb interchangeably.

Fight cast of Romeo & Juliet
John Tourtelotte and Jessie Holder held the title roles of a cast driven production of R&J. Smart choices were made by several standout performances, Megan Heinrich as the nurse (sympathetic and humanizing, not just comic relief), Eric Ruiter as Friar Laurence (honest and pensive), and Jason Liles as Lord Capulet whose Patrick Bateman-esque mannerisms and speech made an usually bland character pop. Other notable performances were given by Julia MacMillan as Benvolio, an often forgotten character of tragic circumstances. MacMillan generously gives color to Benvolio’s speeches. As Benvolio in The Poetics’ production is played by a female, another dimension was added to Mercutio’s (Mark Jennings) speeches. Mercutio’s famous Queen Mab monologue is artfully done with a flashlight and Benvolio as props.

Mark Jennings as Mercutio and Julia MacMillan as Benvolio
Sadly the unique art of the production stops there with odd placement of the cubes and blocking. Hiding the actors’ faces upstage did little to improve the strained chemistry between the star-crossed lovers. Toutelotte’s portrayal as the young, brash, and fickle Romeo left the audience with little of an impression. On the opposite spectrum, Holder’s Juliet left too much of a matured impression. Juliet’s innocence and naivete is lost with Holder, leaving a bitter and aged performance. Holder’s confusion in what constitutes strength is apparent in her representation of a young child and unfortunately in this production, the audience is not allowed to forget Juliet’s youth as the director kept in the nurse’s explanation of Juliet’s age.

John Tourtelotte as Romeo and Jessie Holder as Juliet
The Poetics production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet had its fair share of quality performances balanced with misdirection and misunderstood characterization. As the actors and director are young, there is a lot of room for improvement but the potential is apparent. You can still catch the last 2 performances of Romeo and Juliet tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm.

Last night, I caught one of the final performances of Romeo & Juliet by The Poetics Theatre Collective directed by Daniel Roberts. The production featured a collection of smartly trained NYC actors and a simple black box theatre at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City. The actors made use of a simple set containing 2 black cubes and a platform used as a bed and a tomb interchangeably.

Fight cast of Romeo & Juliet

John Tourtelotte and Jessie Holder held the title roles of a cast driven production of R&J. Smart choices were made by several standout performances, Megan Heinrich as the nurse (sympathetic and humanizing, not just comic relief), Eric Ruiter as Friar Laurence (honest and pensive), and Jason Liles as Lord Capulet whose Patrick Bateman-esque mannerisms and speech made an usually bland character pop. Other notable performances were given by Julia MacMillan as Benvolio, an often forgotten character of tragic circumstances. MacMillan generously gives color to Benvolio’s speeches. As Benvolio in The Poetics’ production is played by a female, another dimension was added to Mercutio’s (Mark Jennings) speeches. Mercutio’s famous Queen Mab monologue is artfully done with a flashlight and Benvolio as props.

Mark Jennings as Mercutio and Julia MacMillan as Benvolio

Sadly the unique art of the production stops there with odd placement of the cubes and blocking. Hiding the actors’ faces upstage did little to improve the strained chemistry between the star-crossed lovers. Toutelotte’s portrayal as the young, brash, and fickle Romeo left the audience with little of an impression. On the opposite spectrum, Holder’s Juliet left too much of a matured impression. Juliet’s innocence and naivete is lost with Holder, leaving a bitter and aged performance. Holder’s confusion in what constitutes strength is apparent in her representation of a young child and unfortunately in this production, the audience is not allowed to forget Juliet’s youth as the director kept in the nurse’s explanation of Juliet’s age.

John Tourtelotte as Romeo and Jessie Holder as Juliet

The Poetics production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet had its fair share of quality performances balanced with misdirection and misunderstood characterization. As the actors and director are young, there is a lot of room for improvement but the potential is apparent. You can still catch the last 2 performances of Romeo and Juliet tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm.

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