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Subject: "Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edinburg..." Archived thread - Read only
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Jennifer Delaney

05-10-00, 11:28 AM (GMT)
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"Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 4/10/2000"
   Since Robert North took over Scottish Ballet last year, he's made some impressive changes, visible in their new production of Romeo and Juliet. This premiered in Glasgow in June this year and is running for the rest of the week in Edinburgh before going to Inverness.

The most noticeable change is in the corps de ballet. North's production is very light and graceful, a style that has always suited the current Scottish corps, but now there's an extra edge to them. The entire production is off-pointe and the addition of new company members from North's previous company in Verona is welcome, particularly since they seem to gel well with the exisiting company.

In addition, Scottish Ballet's popular and profitable collaboration with Adam Cooper has continued, and he is dancing Romeo with them this season.

North's interpretation of the familiar Prokofiev score escapes the shadow of Macmillan's work. Romeo and Juliet dominate less in this ballet, a fact that makes their tragedy all the more poignant since other characters possess more than two dimensions.

Guest artist Renata Claderini was a superb Juliet - her previous experience in the role includes Rudolf Nureyev as her Romeo in New York. Her Juliet was intelligent and pragmatic at times, while still retaining the passion and youth that characterises the role. In particular, her first dance with Paris (Darren Parish) was impressive, and characterised by a series of striking and elegant lifts.

As Romeo, Adam Cooper was a generous partner, not only with Calderini but with the rest of the company. In his solos, he handled the looser style of the choreography with aplomb, but maintained the power and technique from his more formal classical experience - especially in his jumps. Together, Calderini and Cooper were a touching and believeable pair of lovers.

Another important relationship in the ballet was the trio of Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio. In contrast to more hierarchical interpretations where Romeo dominates, a very roguish Mercutio was clearly the ringleader here. A nicely judged performance from Mauro Tambone stole the show without overshadowing his colleagues, while Ivan Dinev also displayed a sharp sense of humour as his charming partner in crime, Benvolio.

But much of the evening belonged to the corps and soloists.The joy of North's production is that the divertissements never jar - in particular Lorna Scott, Robert Doherty and Keith Prested as a Commedia dell' Arte trio were impressive in a witty and well-choreographed scene with fast and neat footwork. Even the broad comedic duo of the Nurse (a young and energetic Dawn Sutton) and a servant (Preston Clare) was well-judged and never flagged. The Dance of the Knights was active and aggressive - much in the theme of the whole production which rooted the lovers in a more bourgeois world.

Andrew Storer's designs were bright and airy, with yellows, blues and terracottas dominating. The set was a clever mix of medieval and Renaissance sensibilities, while the light costumes added to the atmosphere.

Based on this production, North has not been idle at Scottish Ballet and has imbued the company with a new sense of purpose. I look forward to seeing what they do next.

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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edin... Jane N 05-10-00 1
     RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edin... Ann Welsh 05-10-00 2
  RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edin... alison 06-10-00 3

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Jane N

05-10-00, 06:10 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 4/10/2000"
In response to message #0
   Jenny and I saw this performance together, and I agree with all the above. I just wanted to add some of my own thoughts.

I loved Juliet - she was lively, charming, playful, thoroughly enjoying herself at the party, and generally a very convincing young girl. I especially liked the whole sequence of the 'morning after' through to taking the sleeping draught, and her dreams. There was a wonderful point during the dance with Romeo, who is desperately trying to leave, when she suddenly decides she can't cope with pleading with him to stay. She starts picking up his clothes and almost pushes him out so that she can weap on her own, and it's him who then finds it hard to leave her alone to face her parents. During her subsequent dance with Paris, she obviously hates him even touching her, let alone dancing with her (so soon after Romeo has left her), and her stiffness and lack of freedom particularly during Paris' lifts was a wonderful contrast to the passion and joyful abandonment she shows when dancing with Romeo.

There were also some very effective lighting moments, especially when the ghost of Tybalt appears in her dream, like some nightmarish bat swooping over her.

As for the three boys, there was some lovely moments of fun and boyish teasing, with Mercutio definitely the one leading them all into mischief. This then seems to fit naturally with his subsequent goading of Tybalt (which results in his own death), something which can seem so out of character if Mercutio is played as a quiet peacemaker.

The orchestra really cracked into the Prokofiev with gusto, which was a refreshing change.

A very satisfying, well rounded performance, and a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Catch it if you can.

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Ann Welsh

05-10-00, 06:29 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 4/10/2000"
In response to message #1
   Jenny/Jane: so glad you enjoyed this. I saw it in Glasgow in the summer and was totally enchanted. Then, Juliet was danced by a sweet little Finnish dancer called Mia Johansson who literally melted into the role, but I look forward to seeing this new Juliet. I thought North's interpretation and Storer's sets were so refreshing. I'm off up to Edinburgh on Saturday for another fix. If North's direction of SB continues this way, they deserve a wider audience outside of Scotland.

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06-10-00, 12:56 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Romeo and Juliet, Scottish Ballet, Festival Theatre Edinburgh, 4/10/2000"
In response to message #0
   I think I may have seen Calderini as Juliet in her LFB days, although don't remember enough about her to comment. Thanks for the review, Jenny, and good to see you back!

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