July 21, 2008

Mesmerising, Outstanding


REVIEW Romeo and Juliet, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Regent on Broadway, last night. Reviewed by Miriam Sharland. ----------------- --- Last night the Regent on Broadway played host to a rare event - a Royal New Zealand Ballet opening night in Palmerston North. The city was privileged to have the premiere here, as this Romeo and Juliet is a world-class production.

It first toured New Zealand in 2003, and electrified audiences before a triumphal tour of the United Kingdom, which culminated in a nomination for a Laurence Oliver Award for Best Production in 2005.

It's easy to see why. While it was slightly disappointing not to see acclaimed dancers Cameron McMillan and Amy Hollingsworth in the lead roles, Qi Huan and Katie Hurst-Saxton brought a youthful energy and innocence to their roles.

Jo Funaki's irrepressible Mercutio was a scene stealer, and the ensemble dancing of Huan, Funaki and Jacob Chown was a particular delight.

This is a Romeo and Juliet that owes more to Baz Luhrmann than Shakespeare.

Designer Tracy Grant Lord's palette of black, white and grey accented by splashes of blood-red was stunning. Grant Lord had really gone to town with the costumes, and not just any old town, but Fellini-era Verona.

Tailored suits, high heels and sunglasses gave the production a stylish and sexy edge, while testosterone-fuelled fight scenes added mafia menace.

Sergei Prokofiev's spine-tingling score performed by the Vector Wellington Orchestra made this production all the more mesmerising. Outstanding.

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