Shakespeare was heavy going and dull at school. So, thank goodness it has been given an injection of life by the ever-impressive Matthew Bourne.
The UK’s most popular director and choreographer has really shaken up the tragic love story with dance and sparkle, and it really works.
The audience on the opening night at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow, lapped up the bright and energetic production which is set to late composer Sergei Prokofieff’s impressive score.
With Edinburgh born Rory MacLeod wowing as Romeo and the hugely talented Monique Jonas as Juliet, the play was simply spellbinding.
Set in a psychiatric hospital style borstal, Romeo meets Juliet after being dumped there by his politician parents, Senator and Mrs. Montague (Alan Vincent and Daisy May Kemp) who don’t have the time to care for him.
The bare white set designed cleverly by Lez Brotherston is clean and stark and allows the white clothed dancers to explode onto stage.
Bourne has mixed experience with fresh raw talent, with many of the cast making their professional debut in the production and the result is explosive energy and enthusiasm.
The story centers on the young fighting against the conformity of establishment and seeking the love and affection they have been craving for.
Romeo is entranced by Juliet who is busy failing to escape the clutches of the predatory prison guard Tybalt, played with menace by Danny Reubens.
Meanwhile their hot-headed friend Mercutio (Ben Brown) is determined to see off Tybalt and helped by Romeo’s best friend Balthasar (Leonardo McCorkindale), while Benvolio (Euan Garrett) tries to keep the peace.
Well drilled sets from the ensemble made up of Frenchie (Anya Ferdinand), Dorcas (Carla Contini), Magdalen (Tasha Chu), Lavinia (Blue Makwana), Morgan (Garbrielle de Souza), Martha (Tanisha Addicott), Edmund (Cameron Flynn), Lennox (Enrique Ngbokota), Sebastian (Louis Harris), Fabian (Matthew Amos) and Faith (Hannah Kremer) are expertly performed.
And with a second half which takes the play from passion to intense tragedy and a cliff hanger of an ending, the 90-minute spectacular is just simply a corker!
Romeo and Juliet is playing at The Kings in Glasgow until Saturday 30th September and then moves to His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen from 31st October until 4th November 2023. Tickets are available via www.atgtickets.com.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.
Photographs by Johan Persson