ROMEO a Juliet is a unique collaboration between three of Wales’ outstanding arts organisations - Newport-based Ballet Cymru, Coreo Cymru and The Riverfront Theatre.

The original play has been in the news this week as it is the 20th anniversary of Baz Luhrmann’s iconic reworking of it featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, and 2016 also marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death.

In this adaptation, the Bard’s much-loved tragic romance is translated into dance to create a shimmering, stripped-back re-imagining of the classic.

The plot is pared-down to the essentials and such edits maintain a brisk pace, especially in the second half. Characters are vividly-drawn and dynamic, notably the mischievous Mercutio, bombastic bare-chested Tybalt, formidable Lady Capulet and gracious Friar Laurence. 

Props are minimal but have maximum effect. The empty potion bottle is sent crashing to the floor after Juliet drinks from it and the use of clinking metal poles in combat scenes portraying the feuding families’ fights is particularly striking.

The young cast breezes through lyrical choreography mixing traditional and modern dance including a stomping clog scene to communicate the tale of the star-crossed lovers to a spellbound audience ranging from five-year-olds to elderly couples.

An uncomplicated and accessible interpretation.

Lyndsay Warner