Romeo and Juliet with Rojo and Acosta, Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, January 2012Posted on 11 January 2012
This was stunning. MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet is full of wonderful choreography, and on the opening night of the present run it was superbly danced by the whole company, with the lead roles gloriously performed by Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo.
She was among the finest Juliets I have ever seen, so shy and playfully girlish when she first appears with her nurse, yet seeming to float through the air in the main pas-de-deux with Romeo at the party in Act I. Acosta as Romeo was a powerful presence throughout, and his solo in the Act II public square was magnificent. His partnership with Rojo glowed with passion, and just the right amount of cheekiness when they wave goodbye as he and his friends leave the party. Her body language was quite remarkable: the scenes with Romeo where she walks on air, the scenes with Paris whom she quickly grows to detest, and the anguish as she decides to use the potion given her by Friar Laurence.
Yet it was not all Acosta and Rojo. The rest of the cast was superb, with Gary Avis a restrained Tybalt, so provoked by the Montagues that he finally loses it. This is surely the right way to play Tybalt, rather than being almost out of control from the word go, which I’ve seen sometimes. Johannes Stepanek made a wonderfully wimpish Paris, Christopher Saunders a brutally forceful Capulet, and Elizabeth McGorian a suitably emotive Lady Capulet. José Martín was a fine Mercutio, and some of the smaller parts glowed with inspiration. Right at the start Christina Arestis gave a lovely portrayal of Romeo’s initial flame Rosaline, and both she and Tara-Brigitte Bhavnani as Lady Montague moved with natural grace, getting the épaulement and head tilting to perfection.
With designs by Nicholas Georgiadis this looks perennially fresh, and then of course there is Prokofiev’s wonderfully emotional music, which was played with huge energy and verve by the orchestra under the direction of Pavel Sorokin. The musical side of things does not always come off so well, but this performance got the present run off to a terrific start — not to be missed.
Further performances with various casts continue until March 31 — for details click here.