Customer Review

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Innocence Unravelled, 23 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Prokofiev: Romeo & Juliet [DVD] [2013] [NTSC] (DVD)
Nobody dances Kenneth MacMillan's ballets better than The Royal Ballet. Largely created on them or taught to them by the choreographer and the first casts, the idiom is in the dancers' blood. The Kirov once brought Manon to Covent Garden, but were unwilling or unable to get down and dirty with the drama.

Luckily, a recent run of DVDs has recorded the original style of MacMillan's dance dramas - Manon, Mayerling and Romeo and Juliet are now available on film with several different casts. This latest account of Romeo and Juliet, broadcast live in cinemas last year, is a superb case in point, in which dance and theatre are given equal weight.

Lauren Cuthbertson and Federico Bonelli are a decidedly fresh-faced pair of eponymous lovers. Rather than the brooding Tamara Rojo and Carlos Acosta on Decca's recent DVD account, this new Opus Arte film offers the promise of idealistic young love. Bonelli mixes Italianate swagger and the far-off look of an enrapt Romeo. Cuthbertson takes longer than some interpreters to change from girl to woman, yet the sense of erotic release in the pair's Act 3 bedroom pas de deux is gripping. Both here and in the famous balcony scene, they bring accuracy and expressivity to their movements.

This all-too-hopeful pair is caught in a tempestuous world of harlots, sword fights and bullying fathers. Christopher Saunders' Lord and Bennet Gartside's Tybalt are particularly articulate in communicating the pugilistic nature of the Capulet household. Unabashed in their bullying of Juliet, quick to anger, even the poised pageantry of the ball could quickly change to a brawl.

Although superbly danced, Alexander Campbell's Mercutio and Dawid Trzensimiech's Benvolio are slower on the dramatic uptake. Both could be quirkier, cheekier, though they are dazzling in the fight scenes in the market square. You just don't quite feel they're a match for Gartside's Tybalt and it's left to Bonelli, fierier here than normal, to bring the drama to boiling point. And he and Cuthbertson bring that same heat to the final scene in the Capulet tomb. Gone is their wide-eyed innocence, replaced by unbridled desperate passions, which director Ross MacGibbon delivers brilliantly to the screen.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Jul 2013 05:34:24 BDT
Frank says:
Am I missing something or does this review (which is fine in and of itself) belong with The Royal Ballet's performance of R&J and not this staged performance from the Globe...

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Aug 2013 18:51:11 BDT
On my page it is attached the ROH DVD, not the Globe.

Posted on 18 Aug 2013 21:58:48 BDT
wayfarer says:
I found this review of the DVD performance by The Royal Ballet very perceptive of the dramatic intent of Kenneth MacMillan's choreography. Thank you!
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