"Aimer c'est ce qu'y a d'plus beau/Aimer c'est monter si haut..."
Roméo et Juliette, de la Haine à l'Amour ("Romeo and Juliet: From Hate to Love", though the subtitle is usually dropped in translations and the 2010 Paris revival was in fact known as Roméo et Juliette: Les Enfants de Vérone, which translates as "Romeo and Juliet: The Children of Verona") is a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet (obviously) by Gerard Presgurvic that premiered in Paris, France in 2001. It has since played in Canada, Belgium, Hungary, Russia, Austria, Mexico, Italy, South Korea, Romania and Japan (as well as the UK, but, well... the best that can be said for that production is that it did quite a bit better than Dance of the Vampires).It follows many of the same story beats as Shakespeare's original play, but with enough differences to make it into its own beast. The Hungarian production is different enough from the others in terms of Alternate Character Interpretation and being considerably Darker and Edgier that it has its own separate section on this page.The whole show can be watched in French, German and Hungarian on Youtube.
The French production, and most of the subsequent versions, include examples of:
Alternate Character Interpretation: Notably invoked, that Romeo isn't the broody, wangstingEmo Teen he is in Shakespeare, but just a sensitive young guy who dreams of one day finding someone to love and share his life with, and Tybalt is in love with his cousin.
Anthropomorphic Personification: Death watches over everything in the French, Belgian, Russian and Japanese productions, in the form of a dancer wrapped in a trailing shroud. In Japan there is also a personification of Love.
Anachronism Stew: The costumes in this show tend to look like Lady Gaga multiplied the fourteenth century by the late nineties. Mercutio in the Viennese production was dressed a bit like a Gangs of New York-style street brawler.
Arc Words: "Ama e cambia il mondo" ("Love and change the world") in the 2013 Italian production.
Bittersweet Ending: As in Shakespeare, but with an extra touch of sweetness in the French production thanks to the implication that Benvolio and a Capulet girl will follow in Romeo and Juliet's footsteps but with the blessings of both families and a happy ending.
"Blind Idiot" Translation: Let's just say that the lyrics of the London production tend to stray VERY far from the meaning of the original lyrics.
Break the Cutie: Benvolio goes from bouncy sidekick to a broken young man who's had to watch one of his best friends die and the other be banished.
Closer to Earth: Lady Montague and Lady Capulet, though the former more than the latter.
Color-Coded Characters: The Montagues wear blue; the Capulets wear red. Some versions put Mercutio in bluish purple to indicate that while he may be mainly a Montague sympathizer, he's not actually one of them.
Conflicting Loyalty: Romeo is torn between his marriage to Juliet and the fact that his two best friends are not happy about it.
Cry for the Devil: "C'est pas ma faute" ("It's Not My Fault") is, er, supposed to be this for Tybalt, though it comes off rather shallow and whiny in most versions. The Russian translation made it less a shallow play for sympathy and more of a Villainous Lament, the Belgian is a bitter, self-loathing rant, and the Hungarian version made it... well, see below in the Hungarian section.
Department of Redundancy Department: One of the biggest flaws in the French and German lyrics is how many of them consist largely of repetition, particularly within the choruses of the songs. The Belgian, Russian and Hungarian translations fare better.
Disappeared Dad: Lord Montague is totally absent from most productions (all but the Takarazuka and British versions). Lady Montague is a widow.
False Friend: Mercutio, Benvolio and all of the young Montagues accuse Romeo of being one of these once his marriage to Juliet becomes known.
Gender Flip: Death is played by a woman in the French, Belgian and Japanese versions but a man in Russia and Mexico.
In the Japanese version, Death is played by an otokoyaku (male role actress), so the character is male, even if the actress is female.
Hakuna Matata: "Les Rois du Monde". Particularly notable for the underlying irony that even if you didn't know Benvolio is the only member of the Power Trio to survive the story, there's still the fact that if Romeo and Mercutio survived, they'd eventually end up in the positions of remote power they mock in this song.
Tybalt in the Asian tour was the French voice of Simba.
The Austrian production is loaded with this. Romeo and Juliet are Sarah and Alfred in the Vienna revival of Tanz Der Vampire, and Tybalt was the original German-language Fiyero in Wicked. Mercutio created the role of Melchior in the Austrian musical premiere of Spring Awakening. The Nurse was Mrs. Van Hopper.
The original Belgian Juliet played Jemima in the video version of Cats.
Only Sane Man: In most productions (one exception being the 2013 Italian production), Benvolio is a little less this than in the original stage play, though it's easy to interpret his portrayal in this as just wanting to belong somewhere and fighting alongside Mercutio is where he feels the most appreciated. However, he and Romeo take up this mantle together during Mercutio and Tybalt's duel in all versions.
Parents as People: Lord Capulet really just wants what's best for Juliet and deeply loves her, if "Avoir une fille" ("To Have A Daughter") is any indication. He's just hapless at knowing what would really make her happy.
Playing Gertrude: One of the actresses who played the Nurse in Russia was only nineteen years old at the time- three years older than the actress playing Juliet.
Promoted to Love Interest: Tybalt, sort of. While the subplot of Juliet's parents trying to marry her off to Paris remains intact, Tybalt is presented far more strongly as Romeo's romantic rival, and dislikes Paris about as much as he dislikes Romeo. (In the Hungarian adaptation, this is upgraded to outright aggression at the ball.) Of course, considering he's her cousin, Tybalt's love for Juliet is every bit as forbidden as Romeo's.
Spared by the Adaptation: Lady Montague in all productions (in Shakespeare, she's reported to have died offstage of grief when Romeo was exiled) and Paris in all but the Hungarian (in Shakespeare and the Hungarian adaptation, Paris is killed by Romeo at the Capulet tomb).
Takarazuka: The company that performed the Japanese production.
This Is My Name on Foreign: Juliet's name varies from production to production (Juliet, Juliette, Julia, Djulya, Julieta, Giulietta...). Tybalt's name was translated as Teobaldo in the Italian version. The family names vary too (Capulette and Montaigu in French, Capuletto and Montecchi in the Belgian, Italian and Russian productions, Capuleto and Montesco in the Mexican...).
"Two families fight to stay on top/There is no middle ground/How can I remain wise and sober ruling a keg of gunpowder?" Attila Nemeth as Prince Escalus.
The Hungarian production premiered in 2004 and is still playing in repertory in Budapest with the same rotating casts. Compared to the candy-colored, shiny aesthetic of the other productions, this version has frenetic choreography, costumes that can't be placed to any particular era, and a dark, grungy look that lends the whole thing a sense that it's less about True Love Above All and more about innocence crushed by corruption and violence. The song order was rearranged, and the Hungarian translator essentially adapted the songs rather than fully translated them, as well as added more dialogue to back up this version's specific differences. When the show premiered in Romania in 2009, it was a translation of this version in particular rather than the French.
The Hungarian/Romanian adaptation contains examples of:
Abusive Parents: The Capulets don't come out looking so good on either Juliet or Tybalt's accounts.
Anachronism Stew, turned Up to Eleven. Verona might as well be another planet as far as this production's concerned. The characters wear clothes completely unidentifiable by era but have photographs of each other. The ensemble aren't identifiable by faction.
Of Corsets Sexy: Invoked with some of the ensemble ladies and both Lady Capulet and Lady Montague.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Not the usual sort of pragmatism involved in adaptation, but still a key part of the differences between versions. It seems like the translator essentially took the basic point of each song- "the people who run the world don't have time to enjoy it", "love is the greatest thing in the world", etc.- and just wrote whatever fit that theme and the characters rather than actually providing full equivalents to the French ones. He also reordered songs-Tybalt's two solos swapped places, for example, and "C'est le jour" turned from a Villain Song to the Sanity Slippage Song "Ez a kez utoler" ("This is the hand that will strike") while "C'est pas ma faute" became the bitter, reflective "Belem egett" ("Burned into me")- and created new ones out of cut songs from the French (the "City on Fire"-esque "A teboly" shares a melody with Mercutio's onetime solo "La Folie").
Romance on the Set: The actors who play Juliet and Mercutio on the DVD are married in real life.