Romeo and Juliet

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 October, 2009, 12:00am

Romeo and Juliet
Hong Kong Ballet
HK Cultural Centre Grand Theatre

Reviewed: Oct 17

Dutch choreographer Rudi van Dantzig's Romeo and Juliet might be better entitled 'Mercutio and Tybalt'. This month's revival by Hong Kong Ballet confirms that his version shines in the interplay between the feuding Montagues and Capulets, but fails to do justice to the passion of the two lovers.

Overall the narrative is strong with some effective original touches. The ballet works well as spectacle but its structure is unwieldy and there are too many longueurs. The choreography is not musical enough in the love duets which, while demanding technically, do not flow with Prokofiev's score.

It says much for the lead couple of Zhang Yao and Ye Fei-fei that they were able to make these pas de deux look so good. In an impressively mature debut as Juliet, rising star Ye displayed exceptional technique and dramatic ability with a compelling portrayal of a strong-willed girl in love. Zhang, her Romeo, danced well, partnered her superbly and gave a poignant, intelligent performance.

Fine character work included Park Jae-eun's foolish yet touching nurse and Graeme Collins' compassionate Friar Laurence.

The ballet excels in the feast of male dancing it offers. The company's men rise to the challenge with exhilarating virtuosity.

The performances of the evening were Chen Qing's captivating Mercutio and Nobuo Fujino's sinuous, ferocious Tybalt. These two magnificent artists dominated the stage and their duel and deaths in the second act raised the production to an extraordinary level of intensity.