The combination of Shakespeare and Woody Allen isn't one you'd find just anywhere. But it's coming to the Canadian Theatre Festival in Hamilton this week.

In Romeo and Juliet: An Escapist Comedy, Hamilton actor and playwright Ryan Sero will merge the two. Romeo will become fidgeting and neurotic. The characters will wax philosophical.

The play is one of four showing at the Pearl Company at 16 Steven St. during the festival, which runs from Aug. 16 to 18 and 23 to 25.

A partnership between the Hamilton-based Pearl Company and the Northern Lights Theatre Company, the festival will feature two plays written by Hamiltonians, an improv showcase called Different Every Time and a play called pomme is french for apple.

The other Hamilton play, Love, Loss and Leonard, is written by Paula Grove.

The idea to merge the Bard and Woody came to Sero during a Theatre Aquarius writing exercise. Sero and three other writers took portions of Romeo and Juliet and rewrote them in a different style.

Sero's version started with Romeo talking to a psychiatrist about Rosaline's rejection of him. That grew to an hour-long play with a cast of six. Sero, who is 25, plays Romeo.

"It has a lot of philosophical humour," he said. "The jokes bring out the psychology and philosophy of where we are and who we are in the universe."

The festival is a good way for Hamiltonians to see plays written by local playwrights, said Barbara Milne, owner of the Pearl Company.

This is the second year for the festival. Check out the schedule at the Pearl Company.