We sent first time viewer of ballet – Sophie St Leger – to watch the English National Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet at the Bristol Hippodrome…
As someone who had never watched a live ballet before I had no idea of what to expect or whether I’d like it, but I was determined to keep an open mind. Admittedly my first thought of ballet was tutus and tights, but beyond that I was unsure of what the evening would entail.
It’s worth saying that my assumptions were smashed immediately, as there wasn’t a single tutu throughout the entire show. Instead the dancers were dressed in costumes suited to the time period in which Romeo and Juliet is set.
The opening solo dance by Aaron Robison, who plays Romeo, was somewhat confusing for myself as I was unsure as to what was happening. It was only when he was joined on stage by the other dancers that I began to pick up the thread of the story.
As ballet is entirely about the dance, there is no dialogue at all, which meant that a great deal of the show was about my personal interpretation of each scene. In some cases, this interpretation was really quite different from that of my husband, which I found a little frustrating.
Thankfully as I know the story of Romeo and Juliet I was able to follow the storyline for about 80 per cent of the time.
It must be acknowledged that the synchronicity of the dancers and the choreography was unlike anything I have ever seen and was truly breath-taking. Described by the English National Ballet as ‘inventive and passionate’ Rudolf Nureyev is a choreographic talent to behold and many of the scenes were simply mesmerising.
Again, being a novice to the world of orchestra, I was literally blown away by the English National Ballet Philharmonic. We were seated just five rows back from the front and I could barely believe the sound of the music coming from the people and instruments in front of us.
Jurgita Dronina is as talented as an actress as she is a dancer. Her facial expression, especially at the end scene showing the emotion of her death was outstanding.
When mentioning outstanding characters, I have to pay special attention to Pedro Lapetra, who played Romeo’s closest friend, Mercutio. He was simply hilarious and had the audience roaring with laughter with his animation.
The show was undoubtedly full of the action, humour and drama promised by the English National Ballet and is deserving of the critical acclaim it’s received worldwide.
For me personally, whilst I appreciated the beauty and talent throughout, I alas did not fall in love with ballet. If you are a fan I can promise an evening of laughter, emotion and entertainment.
There are three further performances of Romeo and Juliet on November 24 and 25, click here to book.