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REVIEW: Romeo and Juliet, Theatre Royal Norwich


By Lynn News Reporter


Straight from a Sadler’s Wells run, this latest Matthew Bourne piece is as exciting and challenging as its stable mates which include the iconic Swan Lake, Car Man, Red Shoes and more.

This is the first new show from New Adventures since Red Shoes in 2016 and marks a slight departure, with an emphasis firmly on youth, which does, of course, fit with the underlying theme of Romeo and Juliet: young love.

The piece which lasts just under two hours, includes a number of young dancers aged 16-19, some still in training, and is set in a young person’s institute in Verona, where the star-crossed lovers don’t have warring families to fight against but rather ‘the system’.

ROMEO AND JULIET by Bourne,, Director and Choreographer - Matthew Bourne,Designer - Let Brotherston, Lighting - Paule Constable, Rehearsal Images, Three Mills, London, 2019, Credit: Johan Persson/. (16112862)
ROMEO AND JULIET by Bourne,, Director and Choreographer - Matthew Bourne,Designer - Let Brotherston, Lighting - Paule Constable, Rehearsal Images, Three Mills, London, 2019, Credit: Johan Persson/. (16112862)

Dressed in white, with an equally stark white setting, the inmates are drugged and abused, and their ensemble pieces reflect both their confusions and frustrations. Cordelia Braithwaite is terrific as Juliet who finds her soulmate in a nervy Romeo (Paris Fitzpatrick) and we feel their passion and confusion as their pas de deux sees them linked by a never-ending kiss.

Even the Prokofiev score has been reworked by Terry Davies to produce a dramatically different sound, although The Dance of the Knights is still hauntingly beautiful.

The ending will have you gasping - and somewhat exhausted as you invest so much in this fresh piece which is as innovative as it is shocking. Don’t miss it.

The show continues until Saturday.

Sarah Hardy


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