RO M E O  &  J U L I E T 

At its best, ballet can tell a story and convey a real sense of narrative just as effectively  – if not more so – than physical theatre, contemporary dance or mime.

Moscow City Ballet has been visiting the Grand for some years, but never having see this company before I admit to being blown away not only by their technical skills and overall presentation but also by their acting ability  and the apparent ease with which they are able to relate a story purely in terms of movement, gesture, and expression.

Given the fact that Shakespearean drama relies heavily upon the rhythms and nuances of the spoken word to draw audiences into another world, it is no mean feat for performers to interpret the subtleties of Bard’s immortal tale of star-crossed lovers without recourse to dialogue.

Victor Smirnov-Golovanov’s  fluid choreography veered smoothly between the traditional and the determinedly naturalistic, clearly establishing the relationships between the characters – among whom Romeo (Mikhail Mikhaylov) and Juliet (Natalya Padalko) stood out as the symbols of warring factions – and their moods and motives.

Talgat Kozhabayev, as the sword-wielding protagonist Tybalt, struck an especially loud chord with the crowd, as did the comic sequences involving Juliet’s nurse (Varvara Garagulya). The production oozed class from beginning to end and I would heartily recommend that anyone seeking an introduction to ballet should seek out this company when they next visit the Grand.

Graham Williams