A display of pure passion

Romeo and Juliet – Northern Ballet Theatre @ Theatre Royal, Norwich.

Romeo and Juliet – Northern Ballet Theatre @ Theatre Royal, Norwich.

By CAROLINE CULOT

Shakespeare's words of passion about the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet were brought leaping to life last night with the ballet version, back in Norwich for the third time.

The tragedy, danced to Serge's Prokofiev's heart-racing score, last played to sell-out audiences in Norwich in 1997 and 1993 so last night had a lot to live up to. But as anyone who has seen the Northern Ballet before will know, this company rarely disappoints and with this production, one of their favourites, theatre-goers were last night treated to a display of pure passion on point.

Chiaki Nagao, who played the lead of Estella in the Northern Ballet's Great Expectations, which last visited Norwich, captured the essence of Juliet. With her minute, fragile form, her beauty, grace but also her strength and courage in dance made her the perfect choice for this role. And dancing as if he had been made for her was Hironao Takahashi as Romeo, who played Pip to Chiaki's Estella in Great Expectations. Although individually fantastic, the pair's true excellence

shone through last night when dancing together, almost like one, and with all the passion and emotion imaginable.

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But as always with the Northern Ballet Theatre, there was a unique quality elsewhere too, with an electric performance from Jeremy Kerridge, now in his 20th year with the company, as Mercutio. Charlotte Talbot, another Northern Ballet favourite was icily perfect as Lady Capulet and injecting some humour was Fiona Wallis as the Nurse.

There is everything to rave about with this production. The story of two people from feuding families, who fall in love with disastrous consequences, transforms well into a ballet of two and a half hours. The costumes (many re-made after being destroyed by fire) are rich and

cleverly used to depict how innocence and good are tainted. It is not just a ballet but a journey through the emotions – and not to be missed.

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