REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

English National Ballet come to the Mayflower with a classic romance.
English National Ballet come to the Mayflower with a classic romance.
Jon Richardson 'Old Man'. Picture by Andy Hollingworth

REVIEW: Jon Richardson at The Kings Theatre, Southsea

  • Romeo and Juliet is on until October 31
  • Tickets: £10.75 to £48.50, visit mayflower.org.uk
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Shakespeare’s play of doomed love is one of his most diverse works – full of both comedy and drama.

And although I missed hearing some of the iconic lines, English National Ballet translate the range of emotions into expressive movement.

They only had eyes for each other, but by the forth duet my eyes were rolling in the back of my head

It takes a while to adjust to the visual language of dance, and I would recommend reading a synopsis of the play to refamiliarise yourself with the supporting characters.

Because it is Mercutio and Tybalt, rather than Romeo and Juliet, who captivate here.

Mercutio’s is the most vibrant characterisation: his womanising, class-clown personality is realised with swagger, bum-wiggling and hands-on approach to women.

The sword fight with Tybalt adapts very well into the medium of ballet, and Mercutio’s death reflects his life – it plays out like a joke, but with a sadder punchline.

The pas de deux between the titular lovers became repetitive – they only had eyes for each other, but by the forth duet my eyes were rolling in the back of my head. So their deaths were welcome, if only for an emotional gear change – and Romeo’s dance with Juliet’s sleeping ‘corpse’ was well executed – pun not intended.