Tony Quarrington

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the sun”.

Even those with the most basic knowledge of, or interest in, Shakespeare, will be familiar with these words from Romeo and Juliet. Of course, they are uttered by Romeo in the famous balcony scene in Act 2.

However, the scene before us is no Royal Shakespeare Company production in Stratford-upon-Avon but a gambling palace turned melodeon or music hall called the Bella Union, located at Washington and Kearney Streets in late nineteenth century San Francisco. 

And our “star-cross’d” lovers are not Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, or even Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey, but a baseball bat wielding wild man and a 20 stone woman of whom it could not have been said for at least 30 years that she was “not yet fourteen”.  The incongruity does not end there – because of her bulk she cannot be…

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