Notification Settings

Subscribe to one or all notification sources from this one place.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the day's top stories sent directly to you.

R&J Reimagined is a thrilling contemporary ballet based on a Shakespeare classic

Carlos Curates: R&J Reimagined, Birmingham Hippodrome.

Yaoqian Shang as Juliet and Tyrone Singleton as Romeo in R&J Reimagined. Photo: Bill Cooper
Yaoqian Shang as Juliet and Tyrone Singleton as Romeo in R&J Reimagined. Photo: Bill Cooper

Birmingham Royal Ballet director Carlos Acosta shows his commitment to exciting contemporary dance alongside the traditional ballet repertoire with his Carlos Curates programmes.

As they prepare for festive favourite The Nutcracker, October's homecoming season at Birmingham Hippodrome has featured Sir Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet, and now two very different versions of the same story given a modern twist.

R&J Reimagined begins with the 75-minute Romeo + Juliet choreographed by Rosie Kay for her own West Midlands-based dance company, who are associated with the BRB. Set in modern day Birmingham and blending classical music by Berlioz, as played by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, with an ominous electronic soundscape featuring police radio messages, it turns the Capulets and Montagues into clashing youth drug gangs.

Yaoqian Shang as Juliet and Tyrone Singleton as Romeo in R&J Reimagined. Photo: Bill Cooper

The anti-knife message isn't really required for a ballet audience but I hope the production reaches a youthful audience who may be thrilled with its dramatic blend of modern dance with hip-hop and kathak elements.

The second part of the evening is the sublime Radio and Juliet, the BRB's own version of a work created by Edward Clug for Slovenia's Maribor Ballet in 2005, and set to the melancholy art rock music of Radiohead.

Maybe not one for the traditionalists, this 50-minute ballet is, however, a thrilling work loosely based on the Shakespearean tragedy, only this time Juliet remains triumphantly alive after all the male aggression.

Yaoqian Shang as Juliet and Tyrone Singleton as Romeo in R&J Reimagined. Photo: Bill Cooper

The stark set is populated by besuited male dancers, with lightly clad Yaoqian Shang, as Juliet, the only female. She proves more than a match for the men, even the powerful Tyrone Singleton as her Romeo (in Thursday's cast).

The synchronized dancing is mesmerising, blending with Thom Yorke and co's emotive soundtrack to create a hypnotic, spellbinding experience.

Carlos Curates: R&L Reimagined is staged again today (Friday) and twice on Saturday.

Most Read

Most Read

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News