Romeo et Juliette – Les Ballets de Monte Carlo

The traditional heart wrenching love story of Romeo & Juliet is reimagined by Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, as a tragic tale of accidental death that ultimately divides and destroys the young lovers.

This dark ballet is full of character, comedy and joy before it falls into a deep, tragic, despair.

Romeo et Juliette opens uniquely with film credits projected onto the dark stage listing the choreographer, set designer, musical director and the cast of dancers in their roles.

This creative approach sets the theme for this interesting and absorbing ballet that is set against a stark white, minimal stage that contrasts the dark and light modern-traditional twisted costumes that reflect’s Jean-Christophe Maillot’s choreography. Romeo et Juliette is embedded in the traditional but laced with overt contemporary movements and lines that creates an intriguing visual display.

And so the tale begins with Alexis Oliveira as Friar Laurence performing an omniscient solo drawing us into the darkness, before the light of the youthful Noelani Pantastico as Juliette and Lucien Postlewaite as Romeo captivates our hearts as they fall in love. This contrast between good and evil, joy and sorry, dark and light is woven throughout.

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Mailott’s ballet creates wonderful characters with The Nurse fabulously performed by Maude Sabourin with character, wit and flamboyant dancing. April Ball as Lady Capulet is striking, strong and dances with regal confidence. Alexis Oliverira creates an intense, conflicted and morose Friar who dances with elegance and grace.

Mailott borrows from the movies, creating an entertaining slow-mo action scene between the Capulets and Montagues where the accidental death of Mercutio spurs Romeo to lose control and violently strangle, in slow motion, Tybalt. There is bloodied sheets and bodies dragged; the grief stricken Lady Capulet follows her son dramatically and harrowingly throwing her arms behind with each step in her procession silently screaming.

In the midst of tragedy Romeo and Juliette spend an emotional night together. The desperate devotion and deep love was displayed by Noelani and Lucien. Their bedroom pas de deux was intimate as they danced beautifully together, like two young teenagers besotted.

Unable to live without each other, Juliette is put to sleep by the Friar in a delicate duet with Noelani creating a willow and soft Juliette who falls delicately into a death-inspired slumber. Placed on her tomb Romeo crumbles at her feet and kills himself by running and throwing his body into the end of her tomb. It’s a little strange way to die, but then Juliette rises from her sleep finding her love dead she strangles herself to death. And while the modus operandi may not be convincing Noelani and Lucien create goose-pimples with their final moments.

by Savannah Saunders

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