Romeo and Juliet - Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Lowry: Review

Birmingham Royal Ballet commemorates the 400th year anniversary of the death of Shakespeare with a breath-taking adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, starring dancers James Barton from Liverpool and Yvette Knight from Carnforth in Lancashire.

By Manchester's Finest | March 9th '16

Birmingham Royal Ballet commemorates the 400th year anniversary of the death of Shakespeare with a breath-taking adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, starring dancers James Barton from Liverpool and Yvette Knight from Carnforth in Lancashire.

Kenneth MacMillan’s adaptation of this famous play is part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s 2016 Shakespeare celebration.

Set to Prokofiev’s soaring score, Romeo and Juliet tells the familiar tale of two young lovers at the mercy of powerful families and their own hearts. From the balcony scene’s ecstatic pas de deux to the lovers’ heart-breaking finale, Romeo and Juliet has been an audience favourite since its first performance.

There’s always something so dreamy about the idea of a night at the ballet and then a sudden dread sets in when you see the running time and realise you’re only as cultured as your current Netflix episode – and that doesn’t say much if like me, you’ve decided to revisit Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

So there I was with 2hours 55 ahead of me and thoughts of what could have been the evening’s plans in an alternate reality but somehow the Birmingham Royal Ballet along with Prokofiev’s score proved me wrong – either in fact I am cultured, or the production was just that good.

The dancers of the Birmingham Royal ballet took to the stage of The Lowry in what was a spectacular production of Romeo and Juliet with set design by Paul Andrews and lighting by John B. Read and proved that Shakespeare can still make for edge of the seat entertainment.

The staging was almost as impressive as the performers switching from one tableau to the next – each scene as beautifully designed as the last.

Juliet played by Momoko Hirata and Romeo by Joseph Caley set pulses racing with their beautiful interpretation of Shakespeare’s renowned couple. Through Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography Hirata and Caley moved exquisitely from innocence to devastating maturity.

The two local talents, Barton and Knight both soloists took on the roles of Mercutio and Rosaline. Barton proved to be one of the standout performers of the night striking the audience with an almighty gasp upon Mercutio’s untimely death.

It is proof that with a great team as talented as all involved in the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet – there’s no need for time checks. I would have happily stayed in Verona for a little bit longer, (minus the two house-holds and the long standing hatred and all that).