Wednesday, 30 March 2016

"Romeo & Juliet" Birmingham Royal Ballet
Nottingham Theatre Royal

There are some people who, for some reason, won't frequent the theatre to see a ballet, and I for one can't see why.

Ballet is a very special form of art that is not only very beautiful and emotional but is performed by absolute athletes in the field of dance. The physical strength of the male dancers as they whisk their partners in the air and hold them aloft, is truly spectacular and quite breathtaking. These dancers tell the classic Shakespearian tragedy with touches of comedy and emotion. 

You can get carried away with the music and story, the tragedy, the characters and the absolute magic of how dance can tell the tale of Juliet who falls for Romeo. Juliet's parents, Lord and Lady Capulet want to marry her off to Paris, a wealthy young Nobleman, but Juliet has other ideas. She dreams of Romeo one night on her balcony and he appears in the garden and they confess their love for each other.

The Montagues, to which Romeo is a son of, and the Capulets are enemies and this causes issues at the family party. This ends when one of Romeo's friends, Mecutio, is killed during a sword fight with Tybalt and Romeo avenges his friend by killing Tybalt, and is exiled. Prior to this though Romeo and Juliet are married secretly but with Romeo's exile, Juliet goes to see the Friar who gives her a sleeping potion which she takes. 

Her parents think she is dead but while Romeo is expected to take Juliet away, he doesn't get the Friar's message to say that Juliet has only taken a sleeping potion, and thinking she is dead, takes some poison himself, after stabbing Paris to death. Juliet then comes round and finding Romeo dead, stabs herself.

The sets are sumptuous, as are the wonderful costumes. The deep blood red outfits and flowing capes make a visual impact as do all the wonderful outfits for the ladies; there's been no penny pinching here! Every costume is eye catching.

The stage combat is an important part of this ballet and it is choreographed beautifully and each strike of the sword is on the beat of the music. It's realistic combat and at times cause you to have an intake of breath, due to the accuracy execution of the strikes.

There's a wonderful big orchestra providing the sound and under the musical direction of Koen Kessels, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia create a wall of sound that carries you on waves of beautiful music. You'll recognise at least one piece of Prokofiev's music, "Dance Of the Knights".

Everything about this production is classy and there's no fear of not understanding the story as everyone knows Romeo and Juliet and the dramaturgy is clear and concise. Directed by David Bintley CBE, this is a magical night out for anyone who loves quality theatre.

"Romeo and Juliet" is being performed by The Birmingham Royal Ballet until Saturday 2 April 2016.

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