Romeo and Juliet

Playhouse, QPAC (Queensland Ballet)


Music by Prokofiov

Professional production

The Queensland Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet tells with great artistry and passion the timeless story of the “star-crossed lovers”, and in an Australia shocked by the violence and hatred of the Cronulla riots, the tale of hatred between the House of Capulet (Juliet’s family) and the House of Montague (Romeo’s family) is especially poignant.

Queensland Ballet’s principal dancer, Rachael Walsh, danced with profound beauty and pathos the role of Juliet. She captures the innocence, the joy and the wretched sadness that sweep through Juliet’s being. Back in 1995, a different production of Romeo and Juliet by the Queensland Ballet with the music of Tchaikovsky was highlighted by the ethereal brilliance of Michelle Giammichele as Juliet. In this very different production, Rachael Walsh has proved herself a very worthy successor.

Zachary Chant danced a strong Romeo, resisting the pointless hatred between the families, but ultimately being swept up in it.

It was good to see former company dancers Anthony Lewis and Victoria Hollyman-Lewis return to the stage in the roles of Lord Capulet and Juliet’s nurse. Anthony Lewis played a fiery Tybalt in 1995 and on this occasion brought a dark authority to the leader of the House of Capulet.

The sumptuous costumes designed by Noelene Hill combined with Graham MacLean’s set and lighting designed by David Walters to produce an enthralling atmosphere.

The Corps de Ballet danced with great commitment and the occasional appearances of the gypsies (Renee Von Stein and Amelia Waller) added zing to the unfolding drama. Prokofiev’s music conveys a haunting menace. It continues to be a shame that the Commonwealth Government low level of funding of the Queensland Ballet resulted in recorded music rather than a live orchestra.

Why must such powerful love end in tragedy? “For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

This was a brilliant exposition of that which is elemental in life told through the most elemental art form – dance.

Choreography by Francois Klaus

Playing until Saturday 16 December – Friday 8, Saturday 9, Thursday 14, Friday 15, Saturday 16 at 7.30pm; matinees Saturday 9 at 2pm, Sunday 10 at 3pm, Saturday 16 at 2pm

Duration : 2 hours 10 minutes, plus interval

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Fri 1st December 2006)