Review Round Up: Romeo & Juliet, Royal Opera House

Find out what critics had to say about the Royal Ballet’s production of Romeo & Juliet with our review round up.

Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

The Guardian: “Despite Romeo and Juliet being one of the Royal Ballet’s most performed works, this production, especially opening night, feels fresh and full of new detail.”

London Theatre1: ***** “The pas de deux in Romeo and Juliet is indubitably one of the great set pieces. The chemistry between Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales is palpable. This may be because they are in a relationship in real life. This probably allows them to be more open and intimate than might be the case if they were just professional colleagues? Be that as it may the dramatic intensity of their pas de deux is stunning, sublime and stupendous.”

Broadway World: **** “Where Shakespeare’s words would be, we have the music, the Orchestra of Royal Opera House in tremendous form under the baton of Koen Kessels, the score, as it should, telling half the story, underlining the psychological states of the characters and moving the tone from light to shade as the plot develops. It hardly needs the icons in Friar Laurence’s chapel to remind us of its origin.”

London Unattached: “Francesca Hayward as Juliet, paired with Cuban-Canadian dancer Cesar Corrales, recently promoted to principal dancer, were outstanding in the title roles.  Hayward makes a convincing feisty teenager, tiny and dainty on the stage with immaculate footwork and winsome characterisation.  Corrales takes on the role of the love-struck Romeo with total credibility.”

Bachtrack: *** “Koen Kessels conducted an urgent account of Prokofiev’s searing score, but the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House had a few mishaps, with cracked brass and, most noticeably, a car crash Mandolin Dance where mandolins (in the Side Stalls) and clarinets came awry. They’ll have plenty of chance to make amends during the long run.”

Evening Standard: **** “From their first meeting in a crowded ballroom, to an abandoned balcony pas de deux and that devastating final tomb scene, there is never a moment where we aren’t convinced this is a couple hopelessly, irrevocably in the throes of all-consuming first love – and heedlessly heading towards disaster.”

The Stage: **** “Francesca Hayward and Cesar Corrales are pictures of youthful joy in the Royal Ballet’s first three-act ballet post-lockdown.”

The Telegraph: ***** “There are few more skin-pricklingly exciting experiences than watching the Royal Ballet in full, storytelling flight.”

Culture Whisper: **** “MacMillan’s steps and inflections are set; but there is plenty of room for dancers to put their own imprint on the characters. Despite being in her late 20s, Francesca Hayward absolutely looks the part of a 14-year-old on that ill-defined cusp between childhood and adulthood. She is small, delicate and, when first seen in the nursery, as playful as a kitten.”

The Independent: **** “Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo is big and robust, matching the Prokofiev score. Nicholas Georgiadis’s designs are richly monumental, while the first night brought out a lot of stars.”

The Times: **** “Yes, MacMillan’s three-act Shakespeare adaptation has done sterling service over the decades — it had its premiere in 1965 — but it’s still a visual treat that packs an emotional wallop. The warm earth tones of Nicholas Georgiadis’s architectural sets and sumptuous costumes feel as if a breath of hot air is blowing in straight from Renaissance Verona.”

The JC: ***** “Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography shines with a romantic intensity and is surely the reason why his version of the ballet has been such a success, not only with this company, but around the world.”

Romeo & Juliet continues to play at the Royal Opera House until the 25th February 2022.

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