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Review: Cape Town City Ballet brings the romance of ROMEO AND JULIET to the Artscape

Review: Cape Town City Ballet brings the romance of ROMEO AND JULIET to the Artscape

Choreographed by Veronica Paeper to Sergei Prokofiev’s dramatic score

 

What a pleasure to get back to the ballet! It's been years since I've had the chance to see Cape Town City Ballet in action. Their rendition of ROMEO AND JULIET is a rich tapestry of music, dance, colour and emotion.

I have to admit that this is the first time I've ever seen ROMEO AND JULIET danced. I've seen all of the other big ones several times over, but not this classic. The score is exquisite, and it was an absolute treat to have it played live by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under internationally renowned guest conductor Jonathan Lo. A live orchestra paired with ballet always makes my heart sing.

It was fascinating to read the history of this ballet in South Africa, and choreographer Veronica Paeper's personal history with it too. The programme is definitely worth getting for that. Paeper actually danced Juliet in the very first run of the ballet in Cape Town and says she has drawn much of her inspiration from the original work choreographed by Frank Staff back in 1964.

The sword fights I felt were particularly exhilarating and I loved the way Paeper and the dancers balanced realistic parries and thrusts with poetic ballet steps. I also loved how the choreography played with the different heights provided in the set design. The dancers really felt connected to the space and to each other in their various characters. In fact, the level of characterisation portrayed in each and every dancer on stage was wonderful to see.

Review: Cape Town City Ballet brings the romance of ROMEO AND JULIET to the Artscape On opening night, we had principal artist Kirstél Paterson as Juliet and international artist Lêusson Muniz from Brazil as Romeo. While the pair are excellent dancers, I found they lacked chemistry together. They also both tended towards being melodramatic, especially in the scene where Thibault and Mercutio died, as well as in the final scene where the lovers take their lives. However, I did find their first meeting to be very sweet and charming, and many of their quieter moments together worked.

The overall design of this production is beautiful. From the rich, detailed costumes to the wonderful moving set pieces designed by Peter Cazalet, there is so much for the eye to take in and delight at. I do feel that the overall effect was a little let down by the wigs though. They just didn't right with the rest of the costumes.

Overall, ROMEO AND JULIET from Cape Town City Ballet is a spectacle for ballet lovers and for fans of Shakespeare alike.

Photo credit: Kim Stevens

ROMEO AND JULIET runs at the Artscape Opera House until 28 August. Tickets range from R175-R750, depending on if live or recorded music is used and if the international guest artists are performing. For the full cast list and to book tickets, visit Computicket.

 




From This Author - Faeron Wheeler

Faeron is a Cape Town based actor, writer and producer who has been involved in theatre since she was only three years old. She studied drama and dancing throughout school and then went on to d... (read more about this author)


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