Theatre in Wales

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An absolute feast for the eye and senses.

Romeo and Juliet

Kiev Ballet , St David's Hall Cardiff , January-07-08
Romeo and Juliet by Kiev Ballet Romeo and Juliet is always a companyís tour de force and challenges dancer and musician alike.

And so the Kiev Classical Balletís season at St Davidís Hall ends with a bit of the hard stuff, enabling the company to really show what they are made of.
This production that while firmly routed in traditional style was full of fresh interpretation, brimming over with youthful energy and virtuosic dance. A real delight for the extremely large audience.

The principals are allowed to show off their not inconsiderable dancing talent rising to the differing requirements of this timeless tale from the young Juliet finding her first steps as a young woman to Romeoís battle between brain and heart: the result is plenty of emotion and carefully drawn characterisation.

Natalia Lazebnikova is perfect as Juliet. Her acting is convincing with flourishes of youthful abandon that perfectly juxtaposes the formality of the Capulet household. Like a nervous young animal she captures Julietís innocence splendidly. Her technique is crisp yet seemingly spontaneous.

Andrei Gura is her Romeo, similarly brash to start but making the transition into a love struck young man utterly convincingly. Secure in his technique, Andrei is also able to focus on the drama and the chemistry between the two lovers is clearly there.

Vladimir Prianitchnikov danced a suitably haughty and arrogant Tybalt while Konstantine Vinovoi was a frisky Mercutio who gave us some of the evenings finest dancing.

While undoubtedly the scenes that stay with you are our star crossed lovers and the poignancy captured in their dance, the entire show is an absolute feast for the eye and senses.

Then of course we have that wonderful treat of Prokofievís magnificent score -in the hands of Kiev Academic Orchestra again conducted by Aleksei Baklan.

This was a cleverly constructed season ranging from the frivolity of Nutcracker, the family-friendly Peter and the Wolf and Carnival of the Animals and then a piece de resistance Romeo and Juliet.

Maybe we can afford to give Nutcracker a miss in 2008 even if it is the quintessential Christmas ballet (with Matthew Bourneís version coming to Wales Millennium Centre in April once a year is enough).

In between time we always have the return of the Birmingham Royal Ballet to WMC in October with a The Firebird, Le Baiser de la fťe and Petrushk on October 21, 22 and David Bintley's Beauty and the Beast, October 23-25, 2008

Reviewed by: Mike Smith

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