The ever-reliable Tomahawk Theatre return for their outdoor summer production, taking to Oxford Castle to perform one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies.This pared down version of the play runs at less than 2½ hours, but manages to pack everything in. The Capulet family is headed by a brutish patriarch (Alistair Nunn) who is keen on marrying daughter Juliet (Chloe Orrock) to the safe bet Paris (Alec Cook). But Juliet then meets idealistic Romeo (Samuel Plumb) at a family party. Only later does she realise he is from the rival Montagues.

Tomahawk present a fast, physical and unfussy version of the play. Scenes are chopped up for dynamism and there is plenty of movement and some dance. There is no clear period setting (music, with hints of Bowie and Pink Floyd, suggests the seventies, while the costumes suggest perhaps the forties — the relative lack of props leaves all this vague).

On Tuesday the ‘outdoor’ production had to move inside owing to poor weather. It was amazing then, that a production which features, among other things, live musicians, on-stage fighting and a conga line still managed to be so successful in what was essentially a stage the width and length of an average office corridor.

This success can be attributed to the partnership of an excellent cast and some imaginative direction by Alex Nicholls. He gets the best performances out of the younger cast members — especially Plumb’s Romeo —probably the liveliest, more gung-ho interpretation of Romeo I’ve seen. It’s all the more astounding, as the character can, on the page, be easily accused of being a little dull. There’s barely a dud performance, although Joseph Adams as the Friar and Edward Blagrove's Mercutio (pictured with Romeo) both play it a little too broadly for comfort.

This is a snappy and relatively loose production, which is perfect for older children and teenagers (indeed, the performance I saw was dominated by two very well-behaved school groups). Of course, any adults who also like Shakespeare will be sure to find something to enjoy here too. The use of music and movement really does break up the text in what is another success for Tomahawk — who are fast rivalling Creation as the most interesting company in Oxford.

Until July 14. Box office: 01865 260666 (