Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Jean-Christophe Maillot's Les Ballets de Monte Carlo Romeo and Juliet

Martha Leebolt and Giuliano Contadini in Romeo and Juliet
Photo Credit: Andy Ross

 I took my niece to see Jean-Christophe Maillot's Romeo and Juliet, performed by Northern Ballet.  She sums up the production as 'Absolutely awesome!'

Northern Ballet is current performing Jean-Christophe Maillot's Les Ballets de Monte Carlo's Romeo and Juliet, which Edinburgh hosted and Leeds is currently hosting.  If one's expectation is to see a traditional ballet with Renaissance sets, costumes and ambiance, one will be in for a surprise! The staging is stripped bare, prop-free, and certainly untraditional!  It positively offers the audience the opportunity to solely focus on the exciting, edgy and innovative dancing in this production.

Martha Leebolt and Giuliano Contedini are incredible to watch as Juliet and Romeo.  One could feel emotively the love and passion between the characters they dynamically and beautifully portray.  The chemistry is seen; the intensity is felt and tears of joy and heartbreak is experienced.  Rest of the cast does a stellar job on stage physically retelling Shakespeare tragedy.  This adaptation allows for Friar Lawrence, played by Isaac Lee-Baker, and his Acolytes to 'introduce' crucial scenes, through general observation and physical movement.

The white scenography and dark costumes, designed by Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Jerome Kaplan respectively, a darker and tenser feel to the story.  The contrast could not be any greater and could symbolise the ongoing feud between the Montagues and the Capulets.  Perhaps more emphasis on use of the murder weapons and suggest using actual props for indicating the murders as they come across a little unclear.  Nevertheless the red scarf used as blood upon Juliet's death was poignantly significant and executed well.  It could symbolise the Montagues and the Capulets being blood guilty for both the young lovers' deaths.

A legendary ballet recreated with a untraditional and contemporary twist for audiences who enjoy being told Shakespeare's classic tragedy.

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