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Review - Queensland Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet: a stunning and spectacular production


Mia Heathcote and Patricio Revé as Juliet and Romeo. Photos by David Kelly

Queensland Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet

Choreographer: Sir Kenneth McMillan

Composer: Serge Prokofiev

Played by Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Olondra de la Parra

Staged by Julie Lincoln

Lyric Theatre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre

South Bank

Brisbane

Season: August 28-September 7. Duration: two hours 52 minutes with two intervals. Bookings: www.qpac.com.au or 136 246 Performance reviewed was on Saturday evening August 31.

What a magical production this was; a perfect storm of power and glory.

The ballet was a reprise of a hugely successful season in 2014 with new dancers taking the principal roles magnificently, and some original cast members making a return in character roles. As before the sets and costumes were sumptuous and absolutely in period which made the entire ballet a joy to watch. And with Prokofiev’s stunning, dramatic score played by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by the incomparable Olondra de la Parra it made the evening.

There were no principal dancers in the lead roles, but that didn’t matter with the amazing depth of talent in the company. Juliet was danced by the elfin faced soloist Mia Heathcote. She was an absolute delight and stunning in every aspect of the dance as we watched change from the mischievous young girl to stubborn young lady and finally to the love struck woman. She was just exquisite.

Her Romeo was Queensland Ballet company dancer Patricio Revé and together they made a delightful pair of star-crossed lovers. Their pas de deux were some of the most difficult ever created with many lifts and dives and delicate pointe work. They were gripping to watch and had complete trust in each other. Particularly powerful was the “dance macabre” in the crypt as Romeo tried to bring his dead bride to life.

When the curtain rose the Market Place was filled with townsfolk in all forms from hawkers to harlots and of course the sworn enemies, the Montagues and Capulets. It was a joyous opening as the main players were introduced with the teenage mates, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio (Alexander Idaszak).

I enjoyed Kohei Iwamoto’s interpretation of the happy-go-lucky joker Mercutio, he had the fun-lover down perfectly even in the fight to the death with the menacing, brooding Tybalt, danced with power by Vito Bernasconi who was reprising his role from 2014.

And when the brawl between the young bloods broke out in full the stage was filled with amazingly authentic sword-fighting. The fights to the death with Mercutio, Tybalt and Romeo were spectacular and convincingly real.

In this scene again the reality of character shone through. The town harlots, a sexy trio who were danced tantalisingly with terrific energy by Tamara Hanton, Laura Hidalgo and Sophie Zoicic came into their own for the first time and proved to be a popular presence throughout. They were not there just for laughs. They were outsiders, despised by the townsfolk and taken advantage of by the young men, and the dances dug deep inside the characters. It was great stuff.

Joel Woellner showed his acting skill too as the unwanted suitor Paris. He was not a cold-hearted villain, but much more sympathetic as he tried so hard to win the unruly, disrespectful Juliet.

Steven Heathcote returned to the fold as Lord Capulet and Rachael Walsh was once again a toffee nosed Lady Capulet who turned tragic as she mourned the death of her nephew and then her daughter. I have always admired Rachael and an actor as well as an exquisite dancer in her time as a principal dancer.

Christian Tatchev Director the Queensland ballet Academy and Janette Mulligan, Ballet Mistress were both conscripted to play the Friar and Juliet’s nurse,

It was a stunning and spectacular production, one not to be missed.

Vito Bernasconi as Tybalt and Kohei Iwamoto as Mercutio fight it out

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