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Strong Actors Survive Bad Reviews

A look back at Antoni Cimolino’s 1992 portrayal of Romeo Montague and the critical reviews

The life of the actor is one that is constantly subject to critical reviews. In show business, in order to succeed, actors develop thick skins to protect themselves from fickle audiences and curmudgeonly critics. Ultimately, good actors survive bad reviews.

In 1992, Antoni Cimolino, current Artistic Director with The Stratford Festival, appeared as Romeo in Richard Monette’s production of “Romeo and Juliet”. We dug into the archives and took a look at his reviews, to see how he fared with the critics.

Like Daniel Briere, currently acting in “Romeo and Juliet” at the Stratford Festival, Cimolino recieved mixed critical reviews. Setting a great example for all young actors, Cimolino didn’t let a few critics stifle his creativity & passion for theatre.

Incidentally, Megan Follows, of “Anne of Green Gables,” was Cimolino’s Juliet.

Commenting on Cimolino’s physicality, Liam Lacey of The Globe and Mail noted “with his head hung forward, and his arms straight down by his side, I thought he was intended to be a comic, a bit of a teenaged nebbish who can’t dance and is constantly falling for girls who don’t want him”.

Cimolino as romeo in 1993's "Romeo and Juliet"

In contrast, The Ottawa Citizen’s Jamie Portman stated Cimolino’s portrayal of Romeo “is the prototype impetuous adolescence: reveling in the sheer delight of living, he is fierce in his loyalties, comically vulnerable in his love, and volatile in his emotions”.

Doug Bale of The London Free Press thought Cimolino looked the part, with “a face not yet grown to the strongly muscled body and the powerful voice,” which he believed “is a suitable one in a sense, because Romeo is more boy than many a too-old actor has portrayed.”

Bale also praised Follows for portraying “a radiant youthful Juliet”, adding “Theatregoers who once see her in the balcony scene will never think of her as Anne of Green Gables again”.

Cimolino and Follows as Romeo and Juliet

A “staff” review in The Toronto Star noted that Cimolino and Follows “performed sometimes as if wallowing in a dreamy soup of teeth-clenching sentiment, their flashes of rash, impetuous youthful obstinacy were too rare and thus passionless.”

Monette’s “Romeo and Juliet” was recorded for a television broadcast that aired on the CBC April 11th, 1993.

The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle, wrote a review of the broadcast production. He wrote “Cimolino plays Romeo as if he were in exile from the Drones Club and longing for the company of Bertie Wooster.”

Despite the young actor’s mixed reviews, Cimolino went on to have an outstanding career.

I find his success inspiring and a reminder not to let those who are critical of our work bring us down.

Antoni Cimolino

Follow Antoni Cimolino on Twitter by clicking HERE.

Megan Follows also has a Twitter account, which can be found by clicking HERE.

Listen to my exclusive podcast interview with the Globe and Mail theatre critic J. Kelly Nestruck.

Read all the reviews of Stratford’s Romeo and Juliet.

For more information on the 2013 production of “Romeo and Juliet”, click HERE.

Visit HERE to follow the Stratford Festival on Twitter, and HERE to like their Facebook page.

Read reviews of “Romeo and Juliet”, or post your own, on Stratford Festival Reviews.

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