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Romeo and Juliet

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I went to see the New Zealand Royal Ballet's performance of Romeo and Juliet today.  Originally written, as you all know, as a play by that stalwart of the English language, William Shakespeare, the story was written as a ballet which was first performed in 1930.

The world’s most famous love story returns to the stage. Christopher Hampson’s exquisite ballet version of Romeo and Juliet was first performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2003 and, following a hugely successful UK tour, was nominated for a Laurence Oliver Award for Best Production in 2005. - Royal NZ Ballet website

I was surprised to find that the role of Juliet was played by Yu Takayama who was originally from Japan. She really portrayed the iconic Juliet very well.  Looking at the casting arrangements on the RNZB website, I found that as the ballet toured throughout New Zealand, the parts of Romeo and Juliet were performed by a host of different ballerinas and danseurs.

The dance scene at the beginning of the movie was truly breath-taking.

The Ballet was staged at the magnificent Isaac Theatre Royal in the center of town.  We had seats in the top gallery; a fair way from the stage, but a good vantage point.  It was not until after the ballet had got underway that I realised that "they don't talk or sing in ballet".  I think it would have been better if they had have done.  It would have added to the atmosphere and helped explain the story.  However, it does leave it open to the audience to try and feel what the character is thinking or saying.  The costumes were really nice and the ingenious way that the set was changed from scene to scene was an eye-opener.  I sucked in my breath and let out an almost inaudible "YES" from between my lips, as Romeo slits the throat of Juliet's evil brother.  The fight scenes were captivating, all beatifully choreographed, and acted out perfectly.

A 30 second preview of the Ballet.

As the ballet wound up to it's horrific climax, I was close to tears.  Gimme a break... "for never was a tale of so much woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

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