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BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinemas

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Shakespeare's everlasting love story is brought to life by the iconic Bolshoi Ballet

BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET, Bolshoi Ballet in Cinemas

BWW Review: ROMEO AND JULIET, Bolshoi Ballet in CinemasTo bring some much-needed distraction into our lives, Russia's iconic Bolshoi Ballet is bringing some of its recent performances to cinemas nationwide. Kicking off with renowned choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's intricate version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, the series will be followed by The Lady Of The Camellias and The Nutcracker over the next few months.

Ratmansky created this version of the ballet in 2011 while working in Canada. It is a rather gentle, classical version of the story; the violent hostility between the warring families is quite lightly portrayed and there is more than a hint of reconciliation at the end of the performance. Overall, it feels softer and more personal; the relationship between the young lovers is the focus, rather than the violence and tension of the society in which they live. Ratmansky's choreography looks fresher than many ballets from the Bolshoi, with delicate complexity and intricate detail.

Male characters are given the lead here; Romeo is far more prominent than Juliet, along with his friends Benvolio and Mercutio. The relationship between the friends is light and joyful, in direct contrast to that of Tybalt, who is the focus of the anger and violence of the ballet. Juliet seems a more confined character here; set in domestic spaces, rather than given any opportunity to show a strong and rebellious side, which makes her a more one-dimensional character.

Moscow-born Principal Ekaterina Krysanova trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and graduated straight into the company. She is an intense dancer, with a huge range and the precisely tuned technique you would expect from a Russian-trained dancer. She is simply brilliant at classical movements and shows really beautiful lines; portraying the naivety and innocence emphasised in this version of the role.

Since joining the company in 2006, Vladislav Lantratov has received well-deserved international attention. He uses his height well, with powerful moves and jumps performed with ease. In the prominent role of Romeo, he is given a lot of opportunity to progress the narrative and does so with great confidence and refinement, showing a dreamy character who grows into a more serious and focused young man.

There is a nice partnership between the pair; the balcony pas de deux is intricate, intimate and shows the growing infatuation between the couple. This is a less passionate coupling than others, with a more languorous, rather than frantic, tone to the movements.

Igor Tsvriko is an amusing and energetic Mercutio, less of a joker than many portrayals, with strong support from Dmitry Dorokhov as Benvolio. Vitaly Biktimirov is a furious Tybalt and the fight between him and Tsvriko is fast and very dramatic.

Richard Hudson's intricate period costumes are in direct contrast to the vast starkness of the set. Props are kept to a minimum, which concentrates the attention onto the dancers, but also looks rather empty at points. The screening means that costume details are easy to see, but the wide angles lose the definition and there is nothing in the set to suggest opulence or visual interest.

Conductor Pavel Klinichev maintains a lightness and poetry to Prokofiev's score, rather than emphasising the drama and pain.

This is a delicate and incredibly precise version of Prokofiev's ballet; a delight to see on the big screen while we wait for some sort of normality to resume.

Bolshoi Ballet's Romeo & Juliet is in cinemas nationwide from October 11

Photo Credit: Damir Yusupov

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From This Author Aliya Al-Hassan