Romeo & Juliet
Orchard Theatre, Dartford
The sad thing about Romeo and Juliet is that it has to end on such a despairing note, such is the joy exuberated in this masterful portrayal of burning young love.
All eyes were transfixed on the developing romance depicted between Moscow City Ballet’s Talgat Kozhabayev as Romeo and Yuliya Zhuravleva as Juliet.
Long sections with just the two on stage conveyed all the emotions felt by two younglings falling head-over-heels for each other.
Moscow City Ballet performs Romeo and Juliet
As many wise old heads in the audience knew, that impassioned stage always comes to an end. It does so in the most desperate of circumstances in this story, just as with Shakespeare’s tragic play.
The dramatic tone was set early on with the corps de ballet feistily laying out the backdrop of the warring families.
The tension is ramped up even further when the Moscow City Ballet Orchestra performs the memorable Montagues and Capulets, today best-known as the theme music to the Apprentice on TV.
The score introduces Kanat Nadyrbek as Tybalt, a dancer who set himself apart from his colleagues for his precise and powerful movement.
Playful is not a term often associated with the tragic tale but this company’s version got the tag thanks to a heart-winning performance from Artem Minakov as Mercutio.
He added some laddish cheer to the pirouettes and prancing and even drew a few laughs from the audience as he cheekily put his hand to his ear for more applause mid show.
It was not long before the drama returned as he was slain by Tybalt in a lengthy but beautifully choreographed swashbuckling scene, with Tybalt then killed by Romeo to set up the story’s tragic climax.
One criticism of Romeo and Juliet itself is the performance has long spells without much ballet, as the dancers gesticulate silently to move the story along.
Yet the Russian company easily offsets this with the quality of dance when in full flow and fully deserved the lenghty ovation that came when the final curtain fell.