REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet, Milton Keynes Theatre

The fate of the star-crossed lovers may be doomed, but this dance spectacular is a triumph rather than a tragedy.

Romeo and Juliet danced by the English National Ballet (Photo By Annabel Moeller)
Romeo and Juliet danced by the English National Ballet (Photo By Annabel Moeller)

The English National Ballet has brought Shakespeare’s heart-breaking tale of Romeo and Juliet to Milton Keynes theatre this week for a three-night run.

Regarded as the world’s greatest love story, the ballet with Rudolf Nureyev’s choreography and Prokofiev’s score performed live by the English National Ballet Philharmonic is sublime to watch for both fans of ballet or those who just love the story.

Beautiful sets recreating Renaissance Verona take you back to the start of the story, which sees the Capulet and Montague families at war.

While their worlds were never meant to come together given the families’ history, Romeo and Juliet meet and fall in love.

As the star-crossed lovers follow a fateful sequence of events, the story unfolds without any words but seamless sequences of movement from the hugely talented cast of dancers.

Juliet, played by Erina Takahashi, shone as the leading lady, gracefully floating across the stage as the new relationship blossoms before her world comes crashing down around her and she gives everything both physically and emotionally to show the pain when she is betrothed to Paris, the man she doesn’t love.

The part of Romeo, played by Isaac Hernandez, is equally intense and spine-tingling as he gives a powerful portrayal of the highs followed by the lows experienced by Juliet’s lover.

But even with the two main characters being extremely worthy of the plaudits for their roles, the rest of the dancers can be equally proud of their contribution to the overall experience.

Some scenes see more than 30 dancers on stage together, and their energy and synchronisation really brings the tragedy to life.

But as well as drama, there is also humour and the dancers certainly know how to bring light and shade to the performance.

And the live orchestra definitely deserves a mention, as it would have been a pleasure to listen to their music even without the exquisite dancing they accompany.

Rudolf Nureyev’s award-winning production of Romeo and Juliet was especially created for English National Ballet in 1977 to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.

The company has since performed it worldwide to critical acclaim, and I’m sure no-one in the audience at Milton Keynes last night would disagree.

The ballet is on at Milton Keynes Theatre tonight (Friday) and tomorrow.

To book tickets call the box office on 0844 8717652.