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Romeo and Juliet (Russian Mafia Style) Extended at Impact Theatre

Photo by Cheshire Isaacs. 

After turning people away at the door, Impact Theatre extends its sold-out run of Romeo and Juliet through Saturday. If you want to see stellar indie theater where wolfing down pizza and beer during the show is allowed, even encouraged (try doing that at the Curran), head to Berkeley to see young romance turn into a bloodbath. 

Set in the brutal world of the local ex-pat Russian mafia, Romeo wears a hoodie and Juliet is a cute, fresh-faced teen - making it all the more visceral when mayhem hits. Impact is known for reworking Shakespeare so it feels relevant for the technically savvy, non-ruff wearing crowd; telling a real story with real people, while keeping the poetry intact. Last season’s adaptation of Twelfth Night was lauded by the Guardian for making Shakespeare look easy and the Daily Californian called Hamlet one of the top ten plays of 2006. Impact does Shakespeare well, is what we’re saying. Rough and vital, this version Romeo and Juliet has a talented cast, quick and messy violence, and sucks the audience right in.  

Through April 2. LaVal’s Subterranean Theatre, 1834 Euclid Ave, Berkeley. Tickets are $12-20 at impacttheatre.com.