Romeo and Juliet

QPAC Playhouse (Queensland Ballet)


These violent delights have violent ends and in their triumph die like fire and powder which as they kiss consume.

Shakespeares classic words are recounted in the visceral language of dance in a vibrant, passionate performance of Romeo & Juliet.

Queensland Ballets principal dancer, Rachael Walsh, is again brilliant in the role of Juliet, just as she was in the 2006 production. Her emotional range is wondrous. She expresses the giggly delight of the young girl in the opening scenes yet commands a womanly authority as love and death clash in the closing scenes.

A strong chemistry is apparent in the pas de deux of Walsh and Christian Tatchev, who dances strongly in the role of Romeo. His sword fight with the fiery Tybalt (Kelan Langdon) is convincing and tragic. He is prompted to take up the sword following Tybalts slaying of Romeos dear friend Mercutio but this results in his killing Tybalt, the cousin of Juliet whom he has just secretly married. Star-crossed lovers indeed!

The Queensland Ballet has a strong tradition with this piece. Who can forget the outstanding performance of Michelle Giammichele as Juliet in the 1995 production of Romeo & Juliet with the music of Tchaikovsky?

Prokofievs music in this ballet includes the haunting menace of the Dance of the Knights performed at the grand ball of the Capulets. The dark, martial power of this piece sets the scene for the bloodshed that is to follow.

The Corps de Ballet dance with accomplishment. This company has real depth. They play out the tensions that divide the ancient town of Verona between the House of Capulet (Juliets family) and the House of Montague (Romeos family). At one point the two camps are pelting fruit at each other in an affray.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is well suited to the physicality of dance. The youth and fitness of the dancers bring the bloody swordplay to life and express the obsessive power of love. The action is enlivened by the spirited dance of the Gypsies (Iona Marques and Kathleen Doody) whose charm and vivacity bring colour to the drama.

This ballet tells a story of great sadness yet great beauty. When in the final scene Juliet (Rachael Walsh) takes her own life after seeing her young husband dead beside her, one is reminded of the perils of love and the dangers of youth, for never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

Choreography by Francois Klaus

Music by Sergei Prokofiev

Set Design by Graham Maclean

Costume Design by Noelene Hill

Lighting Designed by David Walters

Playing from 10 to 24 April 2010

Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes (including interval)

— Matt Foley
(Performance seen: Fri 9th April 2010)