This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour was invited to to see R&J Reimagined by Birmingham Royal Ballet.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Birmingham Royal Ballet: Carlos Curates – R&J Reimagined at Birmingham Hippodrome
The first Carlos Curates at Birmingham Hippodrome from Carlos Acosta features not one but two reimagined versions of Romeo and Juliet.
Rosie Kay’s Romeo + Juliet
Director and Choreographer: Rosie Kay, Composer: Annie Mahtani after Hector Berlioz
Juliet (Mayowa Ogunnaike) and Romeo (Subhash Viman Gorania) are part of two different gangs, The C’s and The M’s. Over the course of the 75 minutes we see them meet, fall for each other and then the devastating results of their love connection.
This is told in a contemporary time with metal posts holding up what look like seven satellite dishes at the sides of the stage. The set is minimal and this stripped back nature is very effective, particularly in the scenes with Subhash Viman Gorania and Mayowa Ogunnaike alone, Juliet appears as an older more confident young woman here, compared to the lost betrothed soul of other productions. Ayesha Fazal as Angel brings light relief to her role as Juliet’s friend as she absorbs all the gossip on the blossoming romance.
The music switches between classical Berlioz and modern, I found myself wondering what it would have been like to be all classical or all modern and at the same time I do love a shift in tone and Romeo and Juliet naturally has huge shifts in tone in whatever version it is played in.
This interpretation had me glued for every second as it zoomed past. The talented dancers demonstrated their understanding of their characters as they shifted them to today, highlighting the type of peer pressure that made me think of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet. Generally, I prefer when Rosie Kay Dance Company is presenting stories I know less about, but its great to see a take on Shakespeare here.
Edward Clug‘s Radio and Juliet
Choreography: Edward Clug, Music: Radiohead
The story of Romeo and Juliet here is told in several track length chapters of 3-4 minutes as Yaoqian Shang takes on the role of Juliet whilst Tyrone Singleton is Radio’s Romeo.
Radio and Juliet uses projected film, a series of huge pillars to project them on and to form a wall and then brings the dancers out one by one, in a regimented style, the lighting is harsh here, so much so that I could barely recognise that these were the Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers I’ve seen previously. Normally they are lit from the sides, or in less harsh lighting. This creates a shadowy world where nothing is clear cut.
The story cuts a lot of the action to present the main elements from Shakespeare’s story and I found myself saying “Oh this is when…” a couple of times.
I’m not sure what people unfamiliar might make of it, but I found it absorbing to watch and see a very different take on this 400 year old story.
Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined is at Birmingham Hippodrome until Saturday 16th October. Book tickets here: birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/brb-carlos-curates-rj-reim.