Muddy Reviews: Romeo and Juliet, by the Northern Ballet
First up, let me just say that I’m not expert when it comes to ballet. But I do enjoy watching the experts leap around on stage. Last night I cosied up with my nine-year-old mudlet, a tub of Loseley’s best and an a large glass of Sauv to watch Northern Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking. What could be better?
Ok. So maybe a fortnight in the Maldives would be nice. And a I’ll accept a £5k designer wardrobe makeover, and possibly the new BMW X1 (have you seen the car I drive?!). But since these fancies aren’t taking flight – I’ll take a my girl and the ballet any day.
And watching Northern Ballet dance Jean-Christophe Maillot’s Romeo and Juliet was particularly brilliant. It was lyrical, fluid and beautiful. Even the death scenes were poetic and sensual. The story was told in three acts. The first, followed by intermission, then acts two and three with a three minute break in between.
Dreda Blow was lovely as Juliet, and with her Romeo, Tobias Batley, creates passion and intimacy. Juliet’s Nurse, Pippa Moore, was a standout – expressive through her facial movements as well as her dance, and Hannah Bateman, as Lady Capulet, and Mlindi Kulashe as Tybalt were also great.
There were also a lot of men in tights – with rock hard butts and thighs you could crack walnuts on. But I digress.
The sets were minimalist. A singe ramp and slick white screens which moved around taking us with no fuss from the street, to the ball, to Juliet’s bedroom, the Capulet’s balcony and the Friar’s crypt.
I loved the costumes too. Designed by Jérôme Kaplan, they characterised the waring families well – whites and creams for the Montagues, and black for the Capulets. They were classically inspired, and yet with a contemporary and almost exotic air.
So, what’s with bringing a child to the ballet? Well, she learns ballet, she enjoys dance, and she knows the story of Romeo and Juliet. She was the only child there, as far as I could see, but I put that down to it being a Tuesday night more than anything.
She very much liked the puppetry scene, amusing and silly, and a bit like a play within a play. And there’s a fight scene cleverly danced in slow motion which was stunning.
Although she lost track of the story a bit, she enjoyed the dancing for what it was – brilliant ballet. And I did too. Go if you can. It’s on until this Sat 8 Oct.
New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ, Tel: 0844 871 7645. atgtickets.com