If you’ve been following my little blog for a while now, you may remember me saying last year that I hadn’t been to the ballet in ages, and would love to go and see one that I hadn’t seen before. Well, guess what? Last night I did just that! Yes, my mum and I headed to The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, where we saw the Moscow City Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet. And today I’m going to be telling you guys all about it. So, are you sitting comfortably? Then let’s go!
WHAT IS ROMEO AND JULIET ABOUT?
Romeo and Juliet is a ballet by Sergei Prokofiev based on William Shakespeare’s tragic love story. Prokofiev composed the music in the early 1930’s for the Kirov Ballet, and the incredible ballet score has inspired many great choreographers to try their hand at telling Shakespeare’s story through dance. The ballet begins with feuding between the Montague’s and the Capulet’s, before Romeo and his friends crash a party at the Capulet house. There, he meets Juliet Capulet and instantly falls in love with her, and the two secretly proclaim their eternal love for each other on the balcony.
Hoping to finally put an end to the family feud, Friar Laurence secretly marries the couple. But the feuding continues when Juliet’s cousin, Tybalt, kills Romeo’s best friend, Mercutio, during a fight. A distraught Romeo kills Tybalt in a fit of revenge and is sent into exile.
Juliet turns to Friar Laurence for help, so he devises a plan to help her. Juliet is to drink a sleeping potion to make her appear dead, and once her family have laid her to rest, Friar Laurence will tell Romeo the truth so he can rescue her from her tomb and take her away to live together happily ever after.
That night, Juliet drinks the potion. And when her distraught family finds her dead the next morning, they proceed to bury her. The news of Juliet’s death reaches Romeo, and as he never received the message of it being fake from Friar Laurence, he returns home desperately grieving his lost love. Believing that Juliet really is dead, he drinks some poison. And when Juliet awakens, she sees that Romeo is dead and stabs herself.
MY THOUGHTS ON ROMEO AND JULIET
As Romeo and Juliet is one of my all-time favourite Shakespeare plays, I was ridiculously excited to see it performed as a ballet. And I have to say, it most definitely didn’t disappoint. From the very first step to the very last, I was transported to fair Verona, where the story is set.
The cast of The Moscow City Ballet are all incredibly talented. The part of Romeo was played by Dzimitry Lazovik, and he looked and acted exactly as I expected him to. Blonde hair, cheeky personality, slightly full of himself. I couldn’t imagine him being any other way. He danced brilliantly, and threw Juliet around as if she was as light as a feather! He also had a brilliant rapport with his three friends, Paris, Mercutio and Benvolio. And between the four of them, they brought some light-hearted, comic relief to the performance. It was kind of weird hearing people chuckle to themselves at a ballet, but I think it showed just what a great job the cast was doing.
For me, Aleksei Tsavko, who played the part of Mercutio, stole the show. Like Romeo, he was a brilliant dancer and played the role of the best friend just brilliantly. Even without words, it was clear that he had the Montague’s backs, no matter what. Mercutio is stabbed and killed in Act 2, and the way he showed he was clinging on to the last bit of life he had was just brilliant. He was stumbling around the stage with a grace and elegance I could only wish to have!
Talgat Kozhabaev, who played Tybalt, Juliet’s fiercely protective cousin, was also a pleasure to watch. Like the others, he danced fantastically, and I had to smile as I was sat next to a little old lady who gasped in horror every time he appeared on stage. He had a fantastic stage presence and was definitely one of the more memorable performers of the cast.
Sadly, I was less taken with Juliet, who was played by Yulya Zhuravleva. Don’t get me wrong, she was a fantastic dancer. He pointe work was amazing, and when she danced with Romeo I felt that there was a genuine connection. I just felt that she struggled to portray the young, innocent Juliet in the first act. For someone who was supposed to be just 14, she made a lot of references to her womanly figure. I can’t imagine Shakespeare wanting her to come across as easy as she did! That said, by the end of the performance I could see why she’d been cast as the lead. She could throw a silent strop that rivalled my 4-year-olds, and she danced the tragic parts just brilliantly. She definitely shone more in the last act than in any of the others.
It wouldn’t be one of my theatre reviews if I didn’t talk about the scenery, so I’m going to admit that I was a little disappointed with it on this occasion. The scenery that they used was nice but very basic. And as they moved from one scene to another, I noticed that the curtain would get stuck, and I got distracted from the performance for a few seconds while someone backstage wafted it until it fell into place. The iconic ‘balcony scene’ fell a little flat as well, as the balcony was only seen in the distance. I would have liked that part to have been a little more ‘in your face’ so to speak, as I almost missed it. And my mum actually did!
Before I went to see the Moscow City Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet, I didn’t think I knew any of the music from it, but I actually did! If you’ve ever watched The Apprentice, you’ll know it has a very memorable theme tune, and believe it or not, it’s one of the pieces from the ballet! I was over the moon when I heard it. I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the music as well. And I thought The Hungarian Alba Regia Orchestra conducted by Igor Shavruk were amazing.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Moscow City Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet, and I would definitely go and see it again. As you would expect, I was rooting for Romeo and the Montague’s from the off, and I thought it was a brilliant re-telling of the classic tale of forbidden love. I didn’t mention it before, but I loved the costumes. They were bright and colourful, and really made you feel like you were in Verona with our heroes. The performance was quite a long one – it started at 7:30pm and finished around 10:30, with two intervals in between.
If you want to catch Romeo and Juliet at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham, then make sure you’re quick! It’s on again today at 2:30pm and 7:30pm before it continues its tour around the UK. You can also catch the Moscow City Ballet perform The Sleeping Beauty on Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the shows can be booked by clicking here.
Have you guys ever been to see Romeo and Juliet as a ballet before?
If so, I’d love to hear what you though of it!