Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Wonderful interpretation of well known love story.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet

New Adventures , Wales Millennium Centre , June-19-19
Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet by New Adventures Not only does Matthew Bourne and his wonderful dancers give us a totally new, captivating and exciting interpretation of the tragic tale of William Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers but he has even sharpened Prokofiev’s wonderful music, with a 15 piece orchestra conducted by Dan Jackson building the intensity of the action.

The excitement of the dynamic dance grips you right from the start and the audience remain elated by the ever-changing pictures that are revealed to them.

At each venue, after extensive auditioning, Bourne has included in his cast, young dancers from the locality of each venue. From Wales we have Francesca Rees, Atlanta Hatch, Rachel Brookes-Bent Seirian Griffiths, Llewelyn Brown and Berwyn Cooper. They are all beautifully choreographed by Bourne’s young assistant Arielle Smith.

Bourne continues his collaboration with designer Lez Brotherston. They have set this production in the Verona Institute. With its high walkway and bare walls it looks like a prison. “You’re not quite sure what it is,” says Bourne. “A borstal, a prison, a school, something to do with mental health? ‘

There is one scene where everyone on stage seems to go a bit crazy and we get some very unusual and very clever choreography.

Whilst the ensemble dancing is of the highest quality, highlighted by the white costumes and the white set, we get extraordinary beautiful performances from our two young lovers. We see the love and passion grow between them until it seems to almost overspill. Andy Monaghan, Romeo and Seren Williams, Juliet at first bring us beautiful young love and happiness. Their passion remains right up to the final scene, where the intensity of it brings about sadness and destruction.

In contrast, Tybalt, the enemy, is the overseer of the institute; crudely attempting to have his wicked way with as many of the young girls as he can. It’s when he tries it on with Juliet things start to hot up. The dancing and the acting of Danny Reubens perfectly captures the inner core of this evil man.

Here Juliet’s Nurse is a sort of Prison Chaplain, danced with an almost motherly charm by Madelaine Brennan. Arrangements are made for Romeo to leave the institute but Romeo isn’t happy with this. Romeo’s Parents excellently played by Matt Petty and Madelaine Brennan sign a cheque and have him returned to the institute.

Tybalt’s lascivious activities continue. Romeo kills him. He is not ‘banish-ed’. We find Romeo and Juliet on two beds at either side of the stage. They are reunited. The strength of their love continues but nothing can prevent their tragic ending.

We have experienced great waves of joy and beauty and of sadness, a touch overwhelming as was shown my the near standing ovation that brought our pleasure to its final ending.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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