For never was a story of more woe

There's probably not a person in the English speaking world who didn't either read Romeo and Juliet in school, or see a film version of it (Franco Zeffirelli or Baz Luhrmann), or is, at the very least, familiar with the basic story line. That being the case, it's probably one of the best stories to introduce a beginner like me to attending the ballet. You know the story, so you can just sit back and watch the dancing, the beautiful costumes, and the interesting sets, listen to the music, and not worry about trying to understand what's going on.

I went to the preview of Scottish Ballet's very moving rendition of Romeo and Juliet at the Theatre Royal on Saturday night. The story in this version is transported to 20th century Italy, where the Capulet's militaristic costumes and synchronised dance scenes strongly suggest the increasing force of fascism against the Montague's more bohemian, decadent wealth. Overall, the effect of the fighting and the loss was almost more effective in this format than in a traditional theatrical production. At times in the original, particularly during Romeo and Juliet's death scenes, words get in the way a bit, distancing the viewer from their pain and desperation. With the ballet, there is only music and the physical expression of their pain through dance and movement, showing emotion in a much purer form. The death scene even mirrors an earlier scene between the lovers, in bed, when the audience first sees real intimacy between them.

And the costumes! The costumes were gorgeous, and suggestive of some Spring/Summer 2010 looks. There were 2 girls in particular, school friends of Juliet, which only needed some white cats on their black tops to look like something from Miu Miu. And the pastels of the street scenes beautifully contrasted with the Capulet's strict monochromes.

Romeo and Juliet will be running at venues around Scotland, beginning with Glasgow's Theatre Royal until Saturday this week. They will tour to Edinburgh (28 April – 2 May), Aberdeen (5-8 May), Inverness (12-15 May) and Belfast (19-22 May). Visit Scottish Ballet's website for more information, and cast your vote - are you Team Capulet or Team Montague?

1 comment :

  1. I went to see this in Edinburgh and was on the edge of my seat te whole time. I loved it!



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