Dance of two star crossed lovers

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THERE was no need for Shakespeare’s spoken prophecy of how Romeo and Juliet were “star crossed lovers” in The Grand Theatre last night.

In the Russian State Ballet of Siberia’s macabre telling of the timeless classic, the harbingers of doom were nail bitingly clear.

Shadowy figures in black robes and skeletal masks stalked the dancers right from the first act warning all would not end happily for the tragic teens.

There was a stark contrast between the jovial, colourful dances of the first half and the much darker second which saw characters vanish in favour of an increasing number of cloaked figures.

Natalia Goroshko was a breathtakingly slender and graceful Juliet who slipped easily into the shoes of the naive young bride. Ivan Kanaukhov was an equally dreamy and romantic Romeo, and their dances were evocative and powerful enough to mean they effortlessly took on the weight of the storyline.

Despite the darkness, the ballet had a humorous twist, Mercutio’s band of men were played as mischievous minstrels in yellow which worked very well with an angry red, black and angular Tybalt.

Even Mercutio’s death had a witty but dark twist as his soul cleverly appeared in the form of another dancer and refused to surrender quietly to the masked masses.

Sets were basic but the dancing, beautiful costumes and impressively large orchestra saw this overlooked.

This production of Romeo and Juliet was surprisingly short at one hour 40 minutes, but gripping and thought provokingly sinister at its dramatic end.