Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Sarah Crown
Theatre Correspondent
10:30 AM 3rd April 2024

Romeo and Juliet - A Wonderful Half Term Treat

Dominique Larose and Joseph Taylor in Romeo and Juliet. 
Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
Dominique Larose and Joseph Taylor in Romeo and Juliet. Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
Shakespeare’s greatest love story returns to the Lyceum stage with Northern Ballet’s wonderful production of Romeo and Juliet adapted by Christopher Gable and Italian choreographer, Massimo Moricone. This ballet must be one of Northern Ballet’s most well-known and critically acclaimed productions. Every leap, pirouette and pas de deux breathes a new life into Shakespeare's masterpiece inviting the audience to once again rediscover the iconic and tragic love story as though for the very first time.

The title roles are performed by the exceptionally graceful Abigail Prudames and a suitably virile, Joseph Taylor. Their combined grace, strength and poise along with the chemistry they together evoke is truly mesmerizing. Mercutio (Harris Beattie) and Benvolio (Filippo Di Vilio), Romeo’s close friends add a splash of contrast with their athletic choreography, which well depicts their strong characters and general youthful mischievousness, whilst the nurse (Heather Lehan), who clearly adores her mistress adds yet another dimension to the ballet contributing touches of comedy throughout. Harry Skoupas is a strong and excellent Tybalt especially evident in the cleverly choregraphed fight scenes where Mercutio ultimately meets his end as indeed does Tybalt himself be Romeo’s hand.

Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
The Venetian-style costumes are both stunning and elaborate, they also cleverly define the two feuding families as Juliet’s Capulet family are resplendent in both black and reds trimmed with gold whilst the Montagues wear much brighter, lighter and more vivid colours. Mercutio could almost be described to be wearing a jester’s costume with striped tights. Of particular note, is the Dance of The Knights as the choreography, costumes and Prokofiev’s most well-known piece of music (the theme tune for the TV show The Apprentice) all came together as one and is something that I could watch over and over again. How the dancers achieved such strong, and definitive movements, using some props and wearing the elaborate costumes and masks must have taken hours of painstaking rehearsals. They appeared to effortlessly glide across the stage. It was superb!

Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
It is into this somewhat dark and sinister scene that the young, innocent and carefree Juliet enters with her companions and joins the celebrations casually accepting of her suitor Paris (Jackson Dwyer). It is only when she locks eyes with Romeo that she comes to realise true love. They dance in each other’s arms oblivious to everything that is happening around them.

The set design and lighting arrangements complimented the choreography and the tragic tale. This production also has the benefit of an orchestra under the baton of conductor Daniel Parkinson who more than did justice to Prokofiev’s score. The audience were completely silent from the moment the he lifted his baton.

Aaron Kok in Romeo and Juliet. 
Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
Aaron Kok in Romeo and Juliet. Photo Credit: Emily Nuttall
This production is wonderful and is a real half term treat. Any ambitious, would be, ballerina could not fail to be inspired by tonight’s performance and to perhaps dream that one day, they too could perform in such a ballet. The packed auditorium was just as appreciative, as I was privileged, to have been lucky enough to see this fabulous production.

Sheffield Lyceum Until 6th April