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Old twist for Romeo and Juliet at Bristol Old Vic

Actors Michael Byrne (l) and Sian Phillips

Michael Byrne and Sian Phillips on 'old' Romeo and Juliet

An unusual production of Romeo and Juliet where the main characters are pensioners is being performed at Bristol's Old Vic.

The Shakespeare play, set in a care home, sees the children of the 80-year-old lovers try to keep them apart.

The play is being directed by Tom Morris, the man behind Jerry Springer - the Opera.

It stars Coronation Street actor Michael Byrne who has also featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

He stars alongside Sian Phillips who starred in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Goodbye Mr Chips.

It's always a risk when you're trying something really new
Simon Godwin

Simon Godwin, the play's assistant director, told BBC Bristol that the class divide would be across the wings of a nursing home.

"We all know the story of these crazy, passionate young lovers and the plan with this version is that they are two crazy, passionate 80-year-olds.

"They meet in a nursing home - one is from the private wing of the nursing home, one is from the public wing - and they fall in love."

Mr Godwin added that the idea for the play was dreamed up a decade ago.

"The show's director, Tom Morris, who is also the director of the Bristol Old Vic theatre, has had the idea rattling around for about 10 years.

"He's been working on the script himself, adapting it and trying to figure out how it could work."

Ahead of rehearsals, Mr Godwin said he had his "fingers crossed" that the adaptation works.

"It's always a risk when you're trying something really new.

"I think what's great is that we know the basic story of Romeo on Juliet works and it's great and our version can only strengthen that."

The production Juliet and her Romeo runs at Bristol Old Vic from 10 March to 24 April 2010.

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