EVERY year, it seems some ambitious theatre group or other has a new 'twist' on Shakespeare, be it Greenwich Theatre's Glasgow-set Hamlet last February or Teatro Vivo's sonnet inspired Supermarket Shakespeare.

However, The Bard often fails to translate to a modern setting and its arty revamp rarely adds anything new to the well known plays.

So it was with a healthy mix of scepticism and intrigue that I went to see People's Romeo – a cross-cultural performance of Romeo and Juliet using the popular Bengali theatre style Pala Gaan.

News Shopper: THEATRE REVIEW: People's Romeo ****

The play is the fruit of a two year project by Wandsworth-based theatre company TARA and opens tonight at Greenwich Theatre as part of a UK tour.

Weaving together Shakespeare's verse and Bengali poetry, any doubt I had that this was just another lame gimmick evaporated as the lights went up.

The hauntingly beautiful voice of Sohini Alam filled the air, accompanied by the exhilarating beat of the tabla drum, and its three sole actors opened the show with a spell-binding dance.

With the performers sharing the roles of all the characters in the classic romance, it makes for a dizzying and often confusing affair, with the audience lost as to who is who at times.

However, the play's universal themes and familiar story mean any head scratching is minimal.

News Shopper: THEATRE REVIEW: People's Romeo ****

Caitlin Thorburn is a rather bolshy, ill-tempered Juliet, while the brilliantly expressive Leesa Gazi is endearing as Nurse and fierce as Lady Montague.

But the star of the show is Delwar Hossain Dilu, whose extensive experience as a Pala Gaan performer shines through.

The simple set and props are put to inventive use, with the ribboned curtain acting as both an exit and a vial of poison in one scene, and stiff lengths of rope become lethal weapons and swords.

Both charming and moving, People's Romeo is a brave attempt to try something genuinely new and makes for a culturally enriching and entertaining two hours.

People's Romeo. Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, Greenwich. Until Saturday. Call 020 8858 7755 or visit greenwichtheatre.org.uk