Matthew Bourne’s adaptation of Swan Lake is without a doubt one of the most brilliant ballets I have ever had the pleasure of watching.
I would even go as far as saying it’s one of the best things I have ever viewed being performed on stage.
That was why, when the choreographer’s Romeo + Juliet was headed to HM Theatre, I had to go see if it also met these exceptionally high standards.
I was not disappointed.
Romeo + Juliet blew away Aberdeen audience
The Shakespearian classic is known by most across the globe.
But Bourne’s version reimagines almost everything from the setting to the characters and to some degree the plot.
The basics remain. Two young lovers destined for one another but forbidden from being together, who pay the ultimate sacrifice.
And it is nothing short of spectacular. Beautifully heartwrenching, uniquely modern and gritty to its core.
The young cast, including Aberdonoian Cameron Flynn, was exceptional.
I can not speak highly enough about it.
While the choreography, setting and costume are very much examples of the modern world we live in, it was set to the original ballet score by Prokofiev which the audience will recognise instantly.
And like his interpretation of Swan Lake, the juxtaposition works perfectly.
The cast pulled off every scene almost effortlessly, and with so much emotion. They had me completely gripped from the start.
But the performance is not for the faint-hearted. If you’re after a fairytale wonderland with pretty dancers in tutus, it’s not for you.
Like his version of Swan Lake, Bourne certainly ripped up the rule book when choreographing this, exploring far more than just star-crossed lovers.
Reworked play had nods to the original
His message was clear, there should be rebellion against a society which wants us to conform.
But while Bourne’s adaptation is certainly reworked there are nods to the original.
The pair still meet at a ball – albeit it an unconventional one – and the balcony scene which has become emblematic of the Shakespearean play works extremely well.
And above all, Paris Fitzpatrick and Monique Jonas, who played Romeo and Juliet, had me utterly convinced of their love.
But honestly, and I am not just saying this, the real star of the show for me was our north-east loon Cameron as Mercutio.
I don’t know if something surged in him last night, back performing on his home stage, or if he shines just as bright during every performance. But I would buy a ticket just to see him.