We take a look at what is being said about Matthew Bourne’s production, playing in London as part of its UK tour.

(c) Johan Persson

Broadway World: **** “Some may argue that this wildly re-imagined version should live in its own creative space away from the Bard; others could reasonably opine (as Juliet did) that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.””

Evening Standard: **** “A terrific, detailed ensemble includes Daisy May Kemp’s earnest pastor and an incandescent Ben Brown, leading a trio of cheeky boys who befriend Romeo. The urgent first half is one of Bourne’s best sweeps of dance-drama. The kids register jolts of impotent anger, tiny fractures of dissent (even if only a shared look or sarcastic stomp) and little nicks of individuality.”

The Stage: *** “Matthew Bourne’s uncomfortable reimagining plays fast and loose with Shakespeare’s plot, starring Paris Fitzpatrick and Cordelia Braithwaite.”

The Upcoming: ***** “Taking its inspiration from a play of poetic spoken expression, not a single word is uttered this performance, leaving the fascinating potency of the human bodies and music to speak for themselves. A dynamic, emotional ride.”

The Telegraph: **** “This modern reinterpretation is Shakespeare as psychological horror – and the result is electrifying.”

London Theatre.co.uk **** “The whole company vividly dances and acts Romeo & Juliet. Paris Fitzpatrick’s baby-faced and gangly Romeo has been forced into a preppy mould by his parents and discovers a more authentic self in his connection with Juliet. The flame-haired Cordelia Braithwaite’s Juliet is a brave and vivacious heroine; her trauma and hallucinations lead up to the tragic climax, but this doesn’t eclipse the resilience and defiance she demonstrates in life.”

The Arts Desk: **** “The main takeaway from this evening, though, is as it should be: a tender story of doomed young love, exhilaratingly performed by a youthful, tireless cast. It’s a “young” evening all round: the forces working against the lovers here are the ones plaguing younger generations now – sexual abuse, bullying, knife crime, homophobia – and many of the dancers telling this story are from the company’s talent development programme, nine of them making their company debut. It’s a wholehearted thumbs-up for the company’s future.”

Bachtrack.com: ***** “Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet is a triumph of theatre, but if you go, and you should: make sure you take a couple of packets of tissues and wear waterproof mascara.”

West End Best Friend: ***** “Unsurprisingly Bourne’s choreography is full of power and edge especially when set to the classic music of Prokofiev which has been reorchestrated by Terry Davies. The Dance of the Knights now has an unnerving undertone to contrast the beautiful and clever choreography.”

British Theatre Guide: “Bourne has a palpable hit on his hands, again. Though not his best (I like his early work), Romeo and Juliet confronts a contemporary problem of maligned youth, and provides a leg up for many promising talents on the stage and behind it. Isn’t he a legend…”

Romeo & Juliet continues to play at Sadler’s Wells until the 2nd September before embarking on a UK tour.


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