English National Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet – Bristol Hippodrome REVIEW

The English National Ballet has gathered to do justice to Nureyev’s production, which remains true to the classic Shakespeare story told so many times. Giving it a fresh twist with it’s stand out choreography and two of the strongest leads I have come across in a fair while.

Jurgita Dronina was a perfect little pocket sized Juliet. Petite, pure and innocent, before slowly growing into the young woman we see in the final scenes. Her daintiness suited the early stages of Juliet, entirely infatuatedwith Romeo, but she excelled during times of heartache and tragedy in the later act, displaying raw emotion as she progresses as a women. Her ever-growing soft and controlled extensions contrasted with her distraught nature to evoke tear after tear.

Love sick and forlorn, effeminate Romeo, played by Aaron Robison, commands the stage and dare I say it, the show. Your eyes are drawn to his presence, which is where they remain as your jaw drops to his solos and pas de deux. His jumps were the highest and he seemed to stay in the air that moment longer than everyone else. His legs the straightest and could kick higher than the rest. His feet were the fastest as he ran circles around the male corps ballet, who seemed a little unpolished. His flawless technique makes him a near perfect Romeo and I hope to see him cast in many a lead role in the future, hopefully with Jurgita by his side.

Nureyev’s choreography was a happy medium of classical ballet with a modern breath running through it. He has been accused of over choreographing and also some more tongue-in-cheek moves but I must disagree. His choreography fitted the cast like a glove, displaying their impeccable talent whilst entertaining, moving and satisfying all at once. A stage filled with movement, dance, fight and atmosphere is never a negative. Passionate conducting from Gavin Sutherland brings Prokofiev’s iconic score to life, intertwining it effortlessly with the dancers.

Visually stunning, with rich velvety red dresses and decorated tabards. The entire visual package was elegant and sophisticated yet equally bold and passionate. A minimal set allowed space for the cast of 60, as well as their impressive leaps which made the stage fitting.

Despite celebrating it’s 40th anniversary, this revival of Romeo and Juliet is simply spellbinding, timeless and tragically romantic.

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