Romeo and Juliet, The Coliseum, London

Star-crossed lovers left jilted by Nureyev's fiddly details

English National Ballet's colourful
Romeo and Juliet is a mixture of gusto and fuss. Rudolf Nureyev's production, created for this company in 1977, has been very popular. This revival has real sweep, with lively performances and splendid Renaissance designs but the choreography has too many bright ideas, too much fiddly detail. It doesn't always leave room for the star-crossed lovers.

English National Ballet's colourful Romeo and Juliet is a mixture of gusto and fuss. Rudolf Nureyev's production, created for this company in 1977, has been very popular. This revival has real sweep, with lively performances and splendid Renaissance designs but the choreography has too many bright ideas, too much fiddly detail. It doesn't always leave room for the star-crossed lovers.

Nureyev's emphasis on the Renaissance is the brightest of his ideas. Ezio Frigerio dresses the feuding families in rich, layered fabrics - green for Montagues and red for Capulets. His grandly spacious Verona echoes 15th-century designs for the ideal city. Nureyev fills it with bustle and banners. The street brawls are juicily done, with savage swipes and bawdy gestures.

In going back to the Renaissance, Nureyev also went back to Shakespeare. He includes scenes left out by most balletic Romeos , which follow the scenario laid down by Prokofiev's score. In this version, we don't just see Juliet take her sleeping potion: we see Romeo receiving the false news of her death. It makes the plot clear, but musically it's very peculiar.

Other scenes are expanded and decorated. In deciding to take her potion, Juliet is manhandled by the ghosts of Tybalt and Mercutio. Daria Klimentová is a boldly dramatic Juliet; I wish they'd leave her to get on with it.

If Nureyev's plotting is busy, his dance scenes are more so. Romeo comes on, a lovesick youth, only to dash through a solo crammed with classroom steps. It's forced choreography; the dancers have to strain against the music to fit it all in.

Even so, the dancing is vivid. Klimentová gives a quick, mercurial performance, pouncing on moments of drama. She gives Juliet's despair a stark, heroic force. Dmitri Gruzdyev, her Romeo, is lighter, smoothing Nureyev's wrenching solos into elegance.

The company are on vigorous form. Yat-Sen Chang's Mercutio emphasises quirks and contrasts in his steps. Laura Hussey is a bouncy, obviously youthful Nurse. Jane Haworth is a fierce, pointed Lady Capulet, while Paul Lewis, as her husband, moves with gravity. Martin West conducted an energetic performance by the Orchestra of English National Ballet.

Until 15 January. Box office 020 7632 8300

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'