THE South has moved North for the summer to join Shakespeare's Rose Theatre on a York car park, where Lindsay Posner's London company is presenting the bloody teen romance Romeo And Juliet and even bloodier History play Richard III at Europe's first pop-up Shakespearean theatre.

Romeo And Juliet's Verona is now under the 1930s' shadow of Mussolini's rise; the Capulets cast as the Fascists, the young hot heads, led by Edward Sayer's fiery Tybalt, in National Fascist Party uniform.

Coincidence or not, Robert Gwilym's Lord Capulet is as bald as Il Duce. He also has a Cockney geezer accent, spats and double-breasted suits, his temper is hotter than this July heatwave and his wife is very much "the wife" in that way men tend to refer to their partners down the local.

In Lee Newby's design, Posner's Verona is represented by a café on one side; a Tosca opera poster, tyres, fruit and a discarded bicycle on the other. A waiter is barged out of the way more than once in the "two hours' traffic of our stage" that actually runs to three and a quarter, and it would have been fun to have seen someone, most likely Mercutio, speed off on the bike.

York Press:

Fighting in the street: Alexander Vlahos's Romeo, front left, tries to step in between Shanaya Rafaat's Mercutio and Edward Sayer's Tybalt

Posner makes plenty of choices that freshen up this most familiar of Shakespeare's plays. Alexander Vlahos's Romeo and Alexandra Dowling's Juliet unexpectedly burst through the central doors to present the prologue in the heat of the first thumb-biting fight, then disappear again for the fighting to resume, heightening the forlornness of what is to follow.

Richard Teverson's Paris, still billed as a "young nobleman", is rather older than that; noble, yes, dull, as always, making him all the more unattractive to the young Juliet, even if the age gap were more the norm in society when parents' picked their daughter's suitor.

Stirring opera music heralds the arrival of revellers at the Capulet ball; David Fleeshman's Friar Laurence's has a beatific spirit, always hoping for the best, maybe recklessly so, as he swims against the warring tide.

Less successful is Shanaya Rafaat's Mercutio, who is all words, words, words and not enough wit in her manic interpretation of a traditionally male character. (Not that there is a hard and fast rule; Elexi Walker's wildcat Mercutio, for example, was terrific in Amy Leach's inner-city concrete-jungle production at West Yorkshire Playhouse in March last year).

York Press:

Romeo and Juliet's death scene in the Capulet monument in Lindsay Posner's Romeo And Juliet

Part tomboy, part party queen, Rafaat frankly is trying too hard, and Mercutio's death (spoiler alert) is more a relief than the sadness it should be.

Versailles star Vlahos, by comparison, is a tremendous Romeo, even rocking a Harlequin suit for the ball, just one of many superb designs by Sue Wilmington. He moves well, unconventional and unexpected more than once, making the fullest use of the pop-up theatre space too; he humorously breaks the fourth wall to engage with the audience, and you hang on his every utterance to the last.

Dowling is less experienced but her Juliet matures rapidly before your eyes, full of grace and eloquence.

Romeo And Juliet, Shakespeare's Rose Theatre, Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, Tower Street, York, until September 2. Box office: 01904 623568 or at