›› Verona ‹‹

a short film by Laurie Lynd.

2010 | 22 mins | Canada.

a modern gay take on Romeo and Juliet.

Dave says:

Inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, this modern gay take on the greatest love story ever told is guaranteed to please, even in this abridged form.

Then again, screenwriter Glenn Ripps has made some delightful twists and tweaks to the timeless tale of love and tragedy, in the process reworking the feuding Capulets and Montagues as rival fraternities and a masked Halloween party that is set to see officially straight freshman Brandon (John Bregar) of the Kappa fraternity, fall head over heels in love with sexually experienced Gamma fraternity member Xam (Shannon Kook). Destined to become lovers, it isn't long before Drew (Dean Armstrong), the Mercutio of the story and founder of the underground Taint magazine sees in their relationship the means by which to bring down the House of Kappa; whatever the consequences be.

Playing like the feature it never was, this homage to the Shakespearean classic has a lot going for it, even if Laurence Olivier Theatre Award nominee Scott Wentworth is criminally underused, his dramatic confrontation with his outed son Brandon all by obvious by its absence, leaving screen veteran Cedric Smith to shine as university principal Dean "let your houses be forewarned" August. That said, director Laurie Lynd has dipped wisely into the casting well, with many a star of the hit television series Degrassi: The Next Generation letting rip and here cue Shane Kippel as George, Devon Bostick as Christopher, alongside headliners Bregar and Kook as lovers Brandon and Xan. Yet and as good as Bregar is in his macho role, frankly Kook effortlessly steals the show, his character openly gay from the onset, with Kook letting both his eyes and his body do the talking, as the two young men cannot help but find themselves falling in love with each other.

That a series of nods and winks, let alone updates to the words of the Bard of Avon abound, is of no surprise, with the narrative, part original prose, part words a-new, weaving its seductive tale around many a line, including its own take on the famed "wherefore art thou" scene. Yet and for all that's going for it, including the inspired casting of No Night Is Too Long co-star Salvatore Antonio as Queen Mab; namely the trans styled owner of an underground dance club devoted to sexual freedom, this spirited re-imaging of the fate of a pair of star-cross'd lovers is one of those short films that cried out to be developed into a feature, only and for whatever the reason/s be, denied the opportunity. A crying shame, given this could well have been in feature length duration, the definitive gay version of the Shakespearean tragedy, being bright, sexy and beautifully played from start to finish. What remains to be seen, is simply wondrous.

›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› revised: Wednesday, 24th March, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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