A PASSIONATE kiss is often the lynchpin of any great love story, and none more so than in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when the young lovers from the warring houses of Montague and Capulet declare their love for each other.

Rehearsals for the Octagon’s production of the classic tragedy are now well under way, with David Ricardo Pearce in the role of Romeo, and Jade Anouka playing his beloved Juliet.

There are also several familiar faces for regular Octagon-goers. Kieran Hill will return once more in the role of Mercutio — his second Shakespare under the direction of David Thacker, having made his Octagon debut as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream last year, before going on to appear in Comedians, Love on the Dole and A Streetcar Named Desire.

Several actors from the festive production of David Copperfield will also make a second appearance this season, including Jake Norton, who played the multiple roles of Steerforth, Uriah Heep and Barkiss and will be taking on the part of Tybalt, Tobias Beer, who appeared in David Copperfield and last year’s The Hired Man and who will play Paris and Simeon Truby, who played Mr Peggotty in Copperfield, and who will be playing the roles of Peter, Abram and Balthazar in Romeo and Juliet.

Colin Connor, who appeared in Comedians and A Streetcar Named Desire last season will play the role of Friar John, while John Branwell, who later this year will be playing Fred Dibnah in The Demolition Man, will be playing Friar Lawrence.

Romeo and Juliet opens on February 3. Tickets cost £9.50 to £21.50. To book, visit octagonbolton.co.uk or ring 01204 520661.